On Twitter imbalances, being a people hoarder

#BooksMyJobGaveMe Podcast, Journalism, The New York Observer

Alright, full disclosure. I hoard. I hoard people.

Before you Google episodes of “True Life: I Hoard…People…?” (spoiler: they don’t exist), and consider signing me up for an intervention (please don’t, it’s my last semester, and I don’t got time for that), remember back to about a year ago when I discussed the airy sensation that accompanies purging your inbox, or FINALLY downsizing and consolidating all of those newspapers)? Remember that?

Good.

Now remind me.

Gather around kids, I got a story to tell.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

#BooksMyJobGaveMe Podcast, Journalism, The New York Observer

I was ELATED to hear about Elizabeth leaving her EiC position at The Observer to focus on her own endeavors and a startup! Her new endeavor sounds like a worthy undertaking! Under her watch I can tell The Observer has grown by leaps and bounds. She’s truly a self-made woman, a powerhouse, and a credit to 5’6″ and under girls everywhere.

Now Aaron Gell is at the helm (interim EiC). The kiddies better buckle up. Magic is happening.

Hyperbolic? Yes. But I’m just so darn excited! Aaron is a great editor and he supports his writers, and will fight on their behalf.

I feel like a proud ex-intern momma! I’m probably more like that stepchild that nobody talks about, who gets put in the “karma room” when company comes over.

NYO means a lot to me, and I’m a better writer and person (corny but absolutely true) having worked there.

Changes at The New York Observer

The Observer Media Group announced today that editor-in-chief and editorial director Elizabeth Spiers is leaving her post at the end of August to launch a new company.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built to date and will miss the fun of putting out The Observer every week and doing the kind of smart, witty stories we do,” said Spiers. “But I’m also leaving it in excellent hands and look forward to enjoying it as a reader with no red pen in my hand.”

Executive Editor Aaron Gell has been appointed The Observer’s new editor-in-chief, overseeing the weekly paper, Observer.com, and the websites Betabeat, Politicker, GalleristNY and VelvetRoper.

“Elizabeth has been a phenomenal editor and manager,” said Jared Kushner, principal owner of Observer Media Group. “Not only did she bring on a wonderful team, she redesigned the paper and websites, launched a slew of new verticals and web properties, and invigorated the newsroom, all while more than doubling web traffic. I’m grateful for her efforts, and I look forward to seeing what she does next.”

“I’m thrilled to run The Observer,” said Mr. Gell. “It’s the best job in media, and I couldn’t ask for a better team of reporters,” he said. “Spiers is a genius. I don’t doubt her startup will be a huge success.”

Ms. Spiers is not going far. In September, she will take on a part-time consultant role on the business side, focusing her efforts on the development of a creative services team for Observer Media Group.

Changes at <em>The New York Observer</em>

Journalism 101: E-style profile writing? Anyone? Anyone?

#BooksMyJobGaveMe Podcast, Journalism, The New York Observer, Tufts Daily

I give credit where credit is due.

During my summer at The Observer, I was able to watch a true editor, team-builder, innovator, and manager work. Under Elizabeth Spiers, the editor-in-chief at The Observer, I began to understand the importance of creating a team of people, and learning from the best.

*aaand scene on the Elizabeth worship*

Every so often, she’d invite a guest to speak with the writing staff–a close (and wildly successful) friend in the industry, an insider, etc. One day, she brought Priscilla Painton, a reporter and editor at Time in the late 80’s, to speak with the staff about “getting the story, and more specifically, the art of the profile.

Behold: the E-curve profile.

Did anyone else know about this? Has anyone else learned about this? I’ve ‘profiled’ my friends before, in creative writing exercises, but it would always become an incoherent ranting on their childhood, or consist of sweeping generalizations about this or that. Long story short, the E-curve changed m life. Well, it changed my style of writing. So yes, my life.e bas

The basics:

  • You begin with the inner part of the e (always lowercase): the ‘–‘ section. That’s where you introduce your subject. A vignette, perhaps. A small snapshot into something larger. A distinctive trait, some notable quirk. Something to make the reader want to keep reading, and find out what built this person, what makes her or him tick, and why should anyone care? Some writers express this with an introduction into the beginning of the interview (BUT NOT NEARLY AS SUCKY AS THE FOLLOWING): “After selecting a corner table at the overpriced coffee shop, one sequestered away near the samovar, I waited patiently for interesting person x to arrive at our scheduled meeting place. I watched as she stepped out of a cab, one Louboutin-clad foot before the other, and scuttled in 6-inch heels toward the coffee shop, her shiny brown skin catching the light in the crook of her arm as she paid the driver with a twenty-dollar bill.”
^^I swear, I’ve read profiles that seem to go on and on and on at nauseum about the mode of the subject’s arrival, initial assumptions, etc, only to “get around to” the point after a page or two.And that’s okay. That’s a specific style of writing, to introduce the subject. But like all good things (and descriptive paragraphs) it must come to an end. It’s just incredibly frustrating when it seems like a writer is hiding behind flowery language and descriptors, instead of ‘getting to the point’.  And what’s the point, more often than not? Sometimes, it’s not to ‘dig deep’ into the life of some socialite or celebrity or another, but an excuse to make a casual but all too carefully crafted mention of their latest project and rehash her or his latest breakup, relationship, or life circumstance (let’s be honest, that’s why they’re on the cover of whatever magazine anyway). But not Painton’s work. She calls. She interviews. She types and transcribes and jots down little mentions and notes, and creates as holistic and purposeful (read PURPOSEFUL) a portrait of the individual.
  • The second part of the ‘e’ (and the profile) is unwinding the story. This is where journalism comes in handy. What story are you telling? To whom are you telling it? What’s the purpose, who is the audience, and why should they care are key questions at this juncture. The ‘flat part’ of the ‘e’ is to introduce them as real people, the detailed aspects that follow is the action. In the words of Ms.  Painton , “action is the center of all journalism.” This is where we get to the meat and potatoes, so to speak, and upturn some earth. Make it as shallow or deep as you want (or as your publication or word count calls), but make it your own, and have integrity.

So, here I am, a student journalist hungry for a profile. My latest foray, the Cookie Guy article, began something like that. In the heat of the editing room, it was reassembled to be more fitting of “Daily style”: I forgot, while writing it, all about “Daily style”. I’ll post the unedited (gasp!) version of the original article/ profile tomorrow, and go through to edit it myself. Online. In the public sphere. In front of everyone (or no one…?).

E is for elephant,

B

My Favorite New York Observer writings: judge gently.

Journalism, The New York Observer

Wow, I interned at The Observer a little over 4 months ago. Time flies. I remember my first day, I showed up in jeans and converse (my superior told me such a dress code was more than appropriate) and a nice top with a cheap blazer over it. Somewhere between my first day and my third week, I got the “swing of things” re the dress code. If only I’d caught on to the writing style that quickly!

First day assignment: “Vera Wang is using non-union workers. Here’s a phone number, an email address. Go.” About 2 hours later, I’d churned out my first blog post/ piece of writing, and I was hooked from there.

Link to my Observer page

My favorite articles!!