Saturday, November 17, 2012

Arresting Agencies and Crime Reporter Boundaries

I'm Anika Myers Palm with the Orlando Sentinel. One of the toughest things for a new reporter who is just starting out covering crime when you're trying to cover an arrest for the first time is figuring out exactly what your boundaries are. Maybe you'll ask for a police report from the arresting agency, the law enforcement agency and they will redact certain information and sometimes that information was exactly what you needed in order to be able to contact someone else involved in the case and you'll have to find a way around it. Other times the arresting agency isn't forthcoming at all whether it's with the documents related to the case or with letting you to speak with anybody affiliated with the case, anybody who's working on it and that can be difficult as well and those are just things that you're just going to have to work through. Some cases are not, some cases are just aren't going to be easy for you no matter what the arresting agency is or what the arrestee has done and so you'll work your way through that it's just one of those things that will get better for you as get more experience.

Covering An Arrest Means Tracking Down Arrestees

I'm Anika Myers Palm and I'm with the Orlando Sentinel. When you have an arrest happen and you need to cover that arrest or you find out that there's an arrest that's going to happen. Usually what will happen is that you'll either hear about it on the scanners or the law enforcement agency that's handling the arrest will give you a call or an e-mail and let you know hey, something might be happening soon. Sometimes you will get that notice and you'll be able to be there when that arrest happens. Other times you won't be able to be there and you will get to know because the law enforcement agency will call you and say why don't you come down to the jail and we will let the arrestee do a perp walk. So you'll get to be there maybe you can take photos and you might even get to shout a question or two and sometimes they'll answer, not always, but sometimes they will. After that you can submit a request to the prison or the jail and ask whether the arrestee will talk to media. Sometimes, depending on the crime the prison or jail may not let them. Sometimes the person him or herself will say I don't want to talk to media. So you'll figure that out as it happens. Then you're, you'll be dealing with the court system so the arrestee will have to be arraigned and you'll deal with a trial after that if it comes to that if there are no plea deals made.

Arresting Officers, Arresting Agencies as Reporting Sources

I'm Anika Myers Palm and if you're a crime reporter you will develop relationships with law enforcement officers. You'll find yourself on a first name basis with police officers, with sherriff's deputies, with even FBI agents. You will want to talk to them because they do the arresting of the people who you're reporting about. The arresting officers sometimes have tips that they can give you. They may tell you, well in cases that I've had in the past, this is what happened. The arresting officers usually one of your best sources so make sure you stay on their good side, but sometimes you can't avoid being on their bad side. But for the most part try to rely on them as decent sources. This is the second part in a continuing series for budding journalists.

Arrested! How Journalists Report on Crime Series

I'm Anika Palm and I'm with the Orlando Sentinel and when you're first starting out as a reporter one of the things that they might assign you to do is to work on the crime desk. And on the crime desk you will work you will have to cover people that have just been arrested. And sometimes that can be a lot of fun and sometimes it can be difficult. People who are arrested are sometimes you'll find that they are absolutely willing to talk to media and they want to tell you precisely how not guilty they are and all the other people that could have possibly committed the crime. Other times you'll find that they just don't want to talk to anyone and you'll end up talking to the arrested person's mother or sister or next door neighbor all of that can happen and so you'll have to be willing and open to talking to anybody to get your story. This series has been created to help aspiring journalists. As a crime reporter there are many things that you will see, learn and do that generally are not taught. These are a few tips from someone who's covered arrests throughout Central Florida.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Creating a social media profile for aspiring journalists

When you launch your social media campaign you need to open accounts and carefully select a username that clearly states your name without any funny punctuation, spellings or nicknames. You want to be found online and shouldn’t make any joke accounts or fake identities that can be misleading. Use as many social media regularly as you can. Post photos and video throughout your accounts. You can create a complete public relations campaign about your writing skills. Pique the interest of followers with links to your other social media with an invitation to follow you. While follower and Likes may be important to getting your message out, what you say is even more important. Journalists have to be reliable sources, ethical, honest and straight forward in language usage. Spell check before you post anything to a social media account. While you’re limited in length on many social media posts make what you say online interesting, relevant and respectful to those you interact with. There are thousands of social media accounts. Don’t use only one or two and then drop them. Use them and become an expert. Post all day and find ways to peak people’s interests.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Arrested for Charity

Many charities raise money by inviting participants to raise money set periods of time particularly if the person is an influencer online with many contacts. I’ll be getting arrested for charity this year. I don’t know when but it will be for a good cause and held by a reputable firm who is trying to raise money for charity. I’m doing this to help raise awareness for an organization that I belong to and it’s The Society for Professional Journalists. I am donating to this charity and will be launching an ongoing series for aspiring journalists who want tips and pointers on how to begin their journalism careers. The series includes videos posted to my account, my blog and to my social media accounts. This includes:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to Create an Online Presence for Journalists

Writing a blog whether it’s a standalone blog on,,, Tumblr or another format, write extensively and prove that you’re a worthy recipient of someone’s attention. Finding out that you struggle with long stories or short phrases only means that you’ve identified areas to focus on strengthening. Don’t give up just because it’s difficult to write every day. You’ll become proficient and learn to write clearly, quickly. Read constantly. You should know more than anyone about your area of interest. Use many, many resources to keep up with topics and get a wide range of information from many people and trusted sources. You should become an expert which means that you’ll need to be open to learning, constantly to find out first about your topic or area of interest. A true journalist should want to break stories and you should definitely hit difficult subject areas in your blog. Cover controversy. Write about emotional topics, sensitive topics but with tact and with skill to aptly inform while showing both sides fairly for readers. Ask for feedback from professional journalists. Ask friends, family and professors to read what you write so that you can gauge your skill level. Parents may shower you with confidence but friends will be blunt and so will teachers and people invested in your success as a writer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Social media is an online campaign

Resumes are no longer the first thing that a journalist will show to a prospective employer. In fact your social media should speak for you and so should any content that you post to a blog or a website if your name or byline goes on it. If you are going to become a journalist your social media accounts should be constructed using the same storyline over and again to share uniform identifying information. Your username should be very close if not exactly like your name. Nicknames are not helpful in identifying you to prospective newspapers or magazines, TV or radio stations. Think about how you would be found in a Google search: will your username come up clearly for your name? If not, you should change your social media. Often a common name will be taken on Twitter. So use initials to replace full names and do not use nicknames, alter egos or false names to create social media accounts. When you become a journalist your work will speak for you so your social media accounts, whether business or personal, must be professional. Take the high road as an aspiring journalist and don’t attack anyone online. Your comments are online forever. No matter what you Tweet, post to Facebook, LinkedIN, YouTube or the thousand or so other social media, your information will be online forever. If you do something you’ll be sorry for, you can lose respect and a potential position as a journalist. Ethically you should be beyond reproach and hold your language usage, your spelling and grammar, punctuation to the highest journalistic standards online. No amount of correction can alter a first impression and if your content is misspelled, language used improperly or grammar incorrect, you lose points and respect. Always use spell check. Carry a grammar and punctuation guide and know the AP or relevant stylebook inside and out. This is not a performance: your social media will speak for you from the day you open your account. Post carefully and conscientiously to all social media.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How aspiring journalists should create a blog

Deciding what you’re going to write about in your blog on a regular basis should never be an issue. All journalists should have passion for and expertise in the areas in which they want to become a reporter. You should have an abundance of topics and be able to make a long list of what you’re interested in sharing with readers. Keep a list of your blog topics on a calendar so that you have a clear writing direction every day. Read everything you can and study and research the topic online using the best, most reliable resources. Make sure that the content you read online has been produced by a respected journalist, a reputable newspaper or magazine. Listen to radio analysts and watch TV and video on your issues so that you know more about this than anyone. You can take classes and register for webinars online that will further your knowledge about the topics. Finding documentation for facts should be a must. You should bookmark the go-to resources that you turn to daily for fresh information on your topic or specialty. Knowing the most about your interest makes you a resource for readers and for those seeking an expert opinion. Interview people and post the profile and story on your blog. By talking with other experts and asking relevant questions you’ll learn more than if you simply write. Gaining insights about your specialty area from will equip you with resources that you will need when you become a professional journalist. No matter what you write be objective and cover both sides of the issue. Be fair and provide attribution to all resources. You may have read something, you may have learned a lot, but the original source should be clearly noted and credited.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Political punditry needs a kick in the pants

...and Nate Silver might be just the one to administer it. A post from Subtraction, by Khoi Vinh, manages to put into words a thought I've been playing with: If Nate Silver's projection about tomorrow's presidential election is correct, it could mean goodbye to uninformed "gut check" political punditry. This is not a bad thing, as far as I'm concerned. An excerpt from the Subtraction post:
If you’re not familiar with Silver’s work, it’s probably a reasonable if gross characterization to say that he is a kind of ‘meta-pollster.’ Each day, he surveys the most recent state and national polls, aggregating their results using a sophisticated — but proprietary — statistical model that accounts for such factors as polling methodology, past accuracy and tendency to favor one party or another. The result is what some believe to be an exceedingly accurate picture of who is ‘winning’ at any given stage of the campaign — and, of course, a prediction of who will actually win at the close of Election Day.
~ snip ~
After months of reading Fivethirtyeight on a daily basis, traditional political commentary is looking more and more outdated, even analog, to me. Most of it seems more like bloviation or superstition, and not true explication. My tolerance for it has been markedly reduced, whether it’s of the blue chip opinion columnist variety, or the more free-wheeling blog variety. My sense — or, to be fair, my hope — is that Fivethirtyeight is effectively disrupting the punditry industry, that in the coming years commentators will be expected to be much more quantitative than they are today.
This could be good. Can you imagine how much better off the nation will be -- and how much more informed -- if we can let the quant geeks do their thing and let writers spend more time writing about actual policy? Let's let all the pundits who really don't know any more than anyone else either retrain themselves to understand the numbers or ride off into the sunset. Their contributions won't be missed. Truly. For that reason, as a journalist, I'm hoping Nate Silver's predictions work out. It'll mean good things for my industry -- and my country.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How Aspiring Journalists Should Create a Blog

Hello my name is Anika Palm and I'm going to talk today about how aspiring journalists can create an online profile. One of the things that aspiring journalists will want to do is to make sure she or he has access to a blogging platform so that you can write regularly and show your expertise in something or even if not expertise than your interest in something. You would also want to try to create if you can, a website that is specifically dedicated just to you a website with your name. If your name is John Smith, or you also want to make sure that your social media accounts are open and accessible to anyone and that the content you put on those accounts is professional content.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Media is an Online PR Campaign for Journalists

Consider your social media accounts in particular to be something of a personal PR campaign for the job that you hope to get in journalism. If that requires you to start an entirely new, say, Twitter account or Pinterest account feel free to do that and make sure that the content you put on there is something you would want someone who wants to hire you to see. I always say that if you're grandmother wouldn't want to read it, don't put it on your social media account. Social media has to be interesting. You're supposed to include a link to a story, a blog, another social media, a website. In order to get someone to click on your social media you have to be clever. You should also design your social media with similar graphics, photos and design. You should be identifiable easily and match the visuals so that you have a complete campaign. In a way, social media advertises you, what you think, your ideas, and is a professional example of what you can do as a journalist for a prospective employer. Your social media should be social but professionally relevant to what you want to write about as a journalist. You should share your likes and interests but you have to be balanced. Reporters have an ethical responsibility to be fair, honest and provide balanced reporting. Your social media is simply an extension of the work that you can perform. Try various social media and you should have many accounts using the same picture. Don't use a cartoon to show your image, you should use a nice photo.

How to Create an Online Presence for Journalists

Hello my name is Anika Palm and I'm a reporter. I'd like to talk to you today about how to create an online presence for someone who is an aspiring journalist. You'll want to begin by making sure that you have access to some sort of a blogging platform whether it's WordPress or Blogspot or Drupal something of that nature so that you can write regularly about a subject in which you have some expertise. Or if you don't have some expertise, some interest. You want to show that you can delve deeply into information about a certain subject so make sure that you can do that. The second thing that you're going to want to do when you have a chance is to get a website with your name. If your name is John Smith make sure that you own or of that nature. You can link that social media to that website. You'll also want to take a good hard look at your social media accounts. Make sure that the information that you're presenting to the world is information that you want someone who has the perfect job for you to consider and to look at when they're thinking about hiring you. I always say that if your grandmother wouldn't want to see it don't put it on your social media account. And if that means you need to create a new Twitter account or a new Pinterest account or a new Tumblr account then you may have to do that and create a separate name for it. Put the information on there that will impress someone who could offer you a job. Make sure that everything you have--your website, your blog your social media accounts--can all be considered part of a cohesive poll. Something that shows you at your best.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Anika Myers Palm Arrested for Charity

Hi, I'm Anika Palm and I'm a reporter. We've been talking about how to build an online profile for professional journalists. As part of my own online profile and my own personal PR campaign you're going to hear very soon something that sounds a little strange. You're going to hear that I have been arrested for charity. It's going to be for the benefit of the Society for Professional Journalists and it's all something that will make sense to you in time. You'll see little blips and blurbs about it on line occasionally coming up soon. I don't know exactly when, but it will happen. The series is in response to a few questions I've had from aspiring journalists, especially those at the college level, who want to know how to make themselves attractive to employers -- or in the alternative, how to at least get their work online so somebody will see it. I hope all this is helpful to someone. Journalism is changing so rapidly that it's really difficult for people who are just starting out to keep up, but there are definitely ways to make sure you're on the right track.