Wick Communications

Making internships matter

In Management on June 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm

This week, we have a new face in the Half Moon Bay Review newsroom. She is Luz Gomez, and she is the best thing to happen to us since Dunkin’ Donuts opened down the street.

Luz will be a 10th grader in the fall at nearby Pescadero High School. She comes to us by way of a social services program in her community. I was more than happy to be included in the project: The agency paired high school students with businesses that interest them. Before she showed up for work, Luz had a week’s worth of training to learn appropriate behavior in an office environment and even CPR. She has been a jewel since the moment she walked in the door.

Normally, I get a summer intern from Stanford. These tend to be highly qualified, journalists-in-the-making. Some already have their bachelor’s degree and are working on a master’s from one of the world’s pre-eminent colleges.

Good as Luz is, she hasn’t had that kind of opportunity yet. So, it’s incumbent upon me as a manager to find appropriate, stimulating, fun and useful things for her to do. That, if you’ve ever managed interns, is often easier said than done. Consequently, some places treat interns as cheap or free labor. Interns are made to do the digital equivalent of 21st-century filing. Too often, interns are engaged in brainless activity that does nothing so much as convince them that the last thing they want to do is work in that field upon graduation.

Please don’t do that. For one thing, the school or organization that sends you the intern will hear that feedback and stop sending you interns. More importantly, though, you would be violating a sacred trust. We have an obligation to sell this business of ours to promising young people. Journalism is a calling and we have to help the next generation to hear it. …

See the Medium

In publishing on June 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Have you used Medium?

If the answer is A) No, or B) What the heck is that, click here. You really should play around with Medium, if for no other reason than to understand this seamless, easy publishing platform that is available elsewhere for your readers and advertisers. In a way, it is competing for eyeballs, but it also represents an opportunity. I bet if you give it a try, you’ll like it.

Medium is a newish blogging platform that I find easier to use than WordPress or other similar things. All you have to do is create a free account, type up some thoughts and drag over a photo or two and you are publishing. I’ve used it to share silly things, to drum up interest in our Half Moon Bay Review coverage, and even to reflect on a plane crash.

This week, the Nieman Lab notes the success The Economist is having with Medium as a way to share insider information and to be more transparent with super-readers of the magazine.

One of the lessons the team at The Economist learned about Medium was that it is qualitatively different from Facebook or Twitter. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Medium is a place where sophisticated readers go for quality content. Should that be important to us? …

Finding a new niche

In Marketing, publishing on June 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Have you seen Task & Purpose? Perhaps it’s as well known as it should be in communities like Sierra Vista that have a lot of young servicemen and women, but it was a revelation to me.

It is a news and culture site that knows its audience well. It was created out of a job site called HirePurpose that was designed to match veterans with employers and ease some of the troubles we all know are all-too prevalent for returning soldiers. It’s simply spectacular. It is a collection of veteran/writers doing journalism like this piece about deported American military veterans being “conscripted” by the drug cartels. What a story!

The site was originally meant as a marketing asset for the job site, but it’s so much more than that now. It has great content, a defined and valuable audience… and revenue.

I guess it’s a reminder that, as we go about our regular work, we should be alive for new niches like this. It’s possible the Immigrant Project some of us have been working on could go in this direction.