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What They Don’t Teach You at Journalism School (A SXSW Preview)

Confession: I crashed the Stanford School of Journalism. I may never be a Knight Fellow in their Journalism program, but some of my ideas resonated enough for Ann and Katherine to not kick me out after they discovered my intrusion on Feb 24.

Here is what I observed in the weeks leading up to SXSW. Here is what I’m paying attention to and here is how things might turn out.

What They Don’t Teach You At Journalism School (That I Learned @SXSW)

1. Press Pass 2.0

The old way was for your average journalist to get an average press pass.

The new way is for the double-dipper mooch-a-pass maneuver. Your press pass doubles as access to VIP events, but also for you to promote your own fledging, Moonlite startup.

But conference producers are starting to barter back for pre-event coverage, which leads me to…

2. Does Anyone Pre-Blog Anymore?

There is this hack I recommend to the CS Major CEOs I mentor. Yeah, they’re usually undergrads at Palo Alto’s Community College (PACC). I recommend that they pre-blog an event, conference, or speaking engagement.

Very few people pre-blog.

I counted and looked for blog posts coming out about SXSW. This year measured the fewest posts according to my very unscientific Twitter feed. I follow appx 780+ social media-savvy thought leaders and saw very few SXSW posts.

3. Get In Late. Get Out Early.

My USC Film School professors stressed, “Get in late on a scene you’re directing and get out early.” Their reasoning was that the audience figures out the back story and are curious to know more.

This resonates with me in my blog posts because audiences swallow very bite-sized chunks of information.

This also is at the heart of my personal strategy on “Sequel posts” that are evergreen…

4. Evergreen vs Shiny Nickels

So I seek to expose granular tactical, street-level ideas, tips, and strategies that are evergreen. Most bloggers are out there seeking shiny nickels in the form of breaking stories.

Evergreen blogging allows you to allude to nickel-like developments, but to hone in on your core blogging platform… therefore staying relevant and semi-shiny, yet evergreen.

5. Promotion vs. Discovery

You don’t get paid to write,
You get paid to promote.

Self-promotion is some of the toughest work. Believe me, I used to hope to get discovered.

Burt, CEO of Storify, used a “hack” to promote a group of journalists who used to write at the AP (Associated Press – I’d link but I don’t think I’m allowed to ;-). He called his group “hacks and hackers”. Through this group (that he had to personally launch & promote) to get attendees, he found a co-founder and even launched a company: Storify.

6. Embrace the Criticism and Make Some Up

I used to cringe when I saw negative comments or criticisms.

I realize now that negative energy is energy and that energy can be redirected. President Clinton said to me (via his audiobook), “My mentor taught me that negative, personal attacks are to be forgiven because they seek a portion of your power”.

Hear it, forgive, embrace, redirect.

7. Hacks, Hackers, Painters, and Bloggers

Do you like that I sequel prequel memes and hijack (and augment)

By sequel prequel, I mean mixing two phrases
Hacks and Hackers
Hackers and Painters (by Paul Graham)

By hijack, I mean linking them in a way that causes curiosity. My most infamous use is my formulaically awesome keynote / pre-blog / conference recap called, “What a Supermodel Can Teach a TED Attendee About Credit”.

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