Tips from a J-Student: Picking up skills and contacts at a professional workshop

Newspaper reporters, editors and others listen to Miami Herald Multimedia Editor Rick Hirsch give opening remarks at Saturday's workshop.


Newspaper reporters, editors and others listen as Miami Herald Multimedia Editor Rick Hirsch gives opening remarks at Saturday's workshop. (From my camera phone, TwitPic)

This is the first in an occasional series called “Tips from a J-Student.” Posts will focus on ways journalism students can better prepare themselves for jobs, internships and other opportunities.

Click here for my Top 10 list of tips.

I know I’ve said this before in some form or another, but (in my Mel Brooks voice):

“It’s good to be a student.”

About 50 newspaper and other media professionals gathered at the University of Miami’s School of Communication on Saturday for a day of online and multimedia training sessions, sponsored by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and Florida Press Association.

For the second consecutive year, Matthew Bunch (@matthewsbunch) and I volunteered for the event. Deborah Acosta (@deborahacosta) a first-year graduate student, also volunteered.

Yes, we helped unload a car. Yes, we helped set up breakfast. Yes, we handed out name tags and programs. 

But why?

Well, there was free breakfast and lunch. More importantly, it was an opportunity to see old friends, meet new people and learn something (sessions were also free for volunteers).

For example, I met University of Florida journalism professor Dave Stanton (@gotoPlanB) after months of hearing about him from former students and Orlando Sentinel senior producer Danny Sanchez (@DannySanchez) after following each on Twitter for awhile.

As for learning something new, I was able to attend a session in each of the three time slots (more details). It just so happened that all of them were led by Miami Herald journalists:

I wish I could have attended all the workshops, but I picked the ones where I thought I would learn the most. 

So what good does this do you?

Find out if your school hosts any professional development events. Most UM journalism students have no idea this opportunity – though limited to a few volunteers – exists at all.

If there’s not such an event, see what you can do to lobby for workshops or some other opportunity to network and learn (somewhat related: a shameless plug for Sean Blanda‘s efforts to bring BarCamp NewsInnovation to Philadelphia). 

But the overall lesson is to take advantage of any available opportunity to improve your skill set, make new connections and continue relationships. And, if that opportunity doesn’t exist, try to make it happen.

Upcoming opportunity: From Jan. 3 to 10, Knight Char in Visual Journalism Rich Beckman will host his annual Beyond Bootcamp workshops at UM for the first time.

Students have the (paid) opportunity to assistant in one of the three-day sessions. I’ll be helping out with the video narratives sessions, Jan. 7 to 10. Of course, I plan to blog about this event.

Looking forward: Several upcoming posts in this series will related to applying for summer internships. Although it’s too late for many summer opportunities, I hope these posts will help students applying in the spring and beyond. 

Weigh in: Have you found any similar training or networking opportunities at your school? If not, what kind would you like to see?

How we did it: Moving The Miami Hurricane from College Publisher to WordPress

This post also appears on the Innovation in College Media blog.

The question we’ve heard most often since launching the new is, “How did you do it?” Below, Webmaster Brian Schlansky offers a comprehensive explanation of the process, from setting up our own Web server to installing WordPress to importing our College Publisher archives.

For more background, check out these posts:


Greg Linch
Editor at Large for Online and Multimedia
Former Editor in Chief (fall 2007 to spring 2008)
The Miami Hurricane

To contact me, visit or e-mail greglinch[at]

Continue reading How we did it: Moving The Miami Hurricane from College Publisher to WordPress

An obligatory end-of-internship post: Reflecting on my Miami Herald experience

Friday was my last day as a Miami Herald intern. I’ve written several posts about the experience (links below), but now I would to provide a more comprehensive look.

From the first day, my colleagues were very friendly and welcoming. There are too many people to thank individually and I don’t want to leave anyone out, so I’ll just say: THANK YOU!

Check out this photo of my editor Carol Jertson (left) and me (right, with my eyes closed).

In short, the internship surpassed my expectations. I knew that I would have the opportunity to cover a wide range of topics as a general assignment reporter, but the quality of that experience was simply amazing – and tons of fun.

I wrote more than 30 stories for print/online, posted more than a dozen breaking news stories online (almost all of which went into print as briefs), contributed to several other stories and even anchored a breaking news story (this involves taking feeds from a reporter in the field and updating a story online).

I was particularly pleased with the amount of video work I was able to do, shooting and producing a total of seven videos (three for my stories, two for another intern’s stories and two for a business writer’s column). I have also shot video to go with an in-depth piece I will continue to work on after the internship.

The newsroom has gone through some very significant changes since I began three months ago, especially where I worked – the main Broward County office in the city of Pembroke Pines.

Like other news organizations, Miami Herald Media Company had its share of cutbacks this summer. About one month into my internship, the publisher announced that 250 full-time employees would be cut by voluntary and involuntary buyouts, which is about 17 percent of the staff. This news coincided with cutbacks across the board at McClatchy papers (more on that here).

On a positive note, I also witnessed plans to reorganize the newsroom and to redesign the Web site.

Reflecting on all this, I wrote the following on internal discussion board before I left Friday evening. I added the bracketed parts to explain a few things:

Intern’s last day: After 12 weeks, my stint as a metro GA [general assignment reporter] in Pines ends today. I’ve learned a lot, everything from sharpening my reporting skills to shooting and editing better videos.

I’ve also seen a great deal of change during my short time here. Some of those changes involved hard times. Hard times that have resulted in different pieces of advice for after I graduate in May: Go to law school. Go to med school. Don’t go into newspapers.

As for law school, Herald alumnus and current UM professor Sam Terilli has shown me that lawyers can be good people. Med school? I’m not a big fan of blood, so cross that off the list. Granted, those two bits of advice were usually jokes. But the third…not so much.

Nevertheless, I leave with a stronger love of journalism. I’m not naive (though I will admit to not knowing how to do the “i” for that in Coyote [system where we write stories]). I’ve been reading since high school about what’s going on in the industry – and my time here has shown me some of those changes firsthand.

I’m hopeful that newspapers will find a way to innovate in terms of content and advertising. I don’t know when, or how, but I’m hopeful. I’m also realistic enough to know some won’t adapt and some might, but still fall prey to whatever circumstances.

To everyone I’ve met, thank you for everything and please keep in touch: greglinch[at] or I won’t be far away at school (I go to the University of Miami), so I’ll be sure to visit.

No goodbyes, just TTFN (ta-ta for now).

Greg Linch


The end of my internship is not really “The End” because I plan to continue to write stories and shoot/edit videos as a freelancer.

But I did have to say goodbye to my desk (below) and ID badge.

What’s next: In addition to freelancing during my senior year, I will be the editor at large for multimedia and online at The Miami Hurricane student newspaper.

As of now, this is mostly an advisory role with certain hands-on elements, such as overseeing the launch of the new site, currently in beta. But it’s a new position, so I’m sure the role will develop more in the coming months.

Check out my other internship-related posts:

End-of-internship posts by other student journalists:


It’s finally here!

We want to hear your thoughts and suggestions, so please be sure to visit our feedback page.

Check out the introductory video by Editor in Chief Matthew Bunch on the homepage. Also, read his welcome letter.

The main goal was to create a more user-friendly site that is clean and easy to navigate. In addition, we wanted to best serve our online audience by including new features.

Some features to note:

  • Increased prominence for multimedia on every page with a SlideShowPro player on the right widget bar.
  • A video player on the homepage and the ability to embed a video or slideshow as the lead item, in place of the standard photo.
  • Increased prominence for blogs in the right widget bar, which displays the latest posts.
  • The ability to easily change front page layouts to one of several templates.
  • Web forms to submit a letter to our advice columnist, a letter to the editor and general feedback.
  • A SlideShowPro player to display front and section covers in the right widget bar.
  • Easy-to-find e-mail and RSS subscription links displayed graphically and textually in the top right corner.
  • Text message alerts.
  • A tag cloud.

We have 100 percent control over everything since we are hosting the site on our server. This not only allows us enormous freedom for content but also for the business office to sell ads online.

This site not only represents a huge shift from College Publisher to WordPress, but also a shift in the direction of The Hurricane to an even greater emphasize online. For instance, the Web site will no longer be updated and categorized by issue — it will be updated as news develops.

It all began with a goal I made as the editor in chief-elect in late spring 2007 to completely overhaul The Miami Hurricane site.

While this new site has been my initiative since the beginning and I have overseen the entire project, this beta site would not exist without the hard work and dedication of Webmaster Brian Schlansky. Brian has done everything technical on the side, from setting up the server to installing WordPress to importing the archives to designing and coding the site.

Special thanks for working on this beta site also goes to Editor in Chief Matthew Bunch, Visuals Editor Shayna Blumenthal and Business Manager Nick Maslow. I’ve drafted up a full list of people to thank — there are many — that I will post when the final site launches.

Weigh in: What do you think? Please share your thoughts on the ease of use, design, colors, features and anything else you see.

Or, if you’d like to contact someone directly, visit the staff listing page.

SPJ Mark of Excellence national win and UWIRE 100 nod

SPJ Announces 2007 Mark of Excellence Award National Winners (announced Monday)

Online News Reporting
• National Winner: Greg Linch & The Miami Hurricane Staff, University of Miami, “The Presidential Forum at UM”

Thanks to everyone who worked on that package, getting everything posted within a few short hours. Congrats!

  • Karyn Meshbane, news editor/liveblogger/videographer
  • Erica Landau, reporter
  • Marissa Gutherz, photo editor
  • Holly Max, photographer
  • Matt Wallach, assistant multimedia editor
  • Nicole Alibayof, videographer
  • Anthony Minverva, videographer

Also this week: UWIRE, a university news service, made public today their list of top 100 student journalists in the country:


Newspaper adviser Bob Radziewicz and journalism professor Sam Terilli nominated me for this honor I greatly appreciate their kind words. Also, thanks to journalism professor Chris Delboni and news editor Karyn Meshbane for the recommendations they sent.

See what they wrote here.

Congratulations to the other winners, especially:

And congrats to another UM student who received a nod, Dan Kaslow (UWIRE page).

Also see

UWIRE 100 – Megan Taylor