Sunday, March 13, 2016

#CSUDH Bulletin - Rite of Passage pt 2: From the Top

Breaking into the media industry can be difficult, especially if nobody knows who you are, but it will be even more difficult if you do not have a body of work to represent you and showcase your skills. As I mentioned in the initial entry of this series, the key to success and the reason for me being in position to get the clips (the work a journalist have completed) I have has been networking.
So, let me tell you my story from the top. You have probably heard the phrase, “It is not about what you know but who you know.” Well, let me share with you a new twist to that, which was shared with me just recently. My photographer friend, Benita West, told me it was less important to know someone but rather your achievements are determined by who knows you. Essentially, that is what networking is all about. Sure, I’ve met Usher Raymond and know him through strong family ties, but that doesn’t mean he would recommend that I write another artist’s bio or press release because he really doesn’t know me.

A few years ago, I signed up for twitter and commenced to begin sports dialog with anyone who was interested. After a while, I amassed a large following and eventually one of my followers, who was popular among “basketball twitter,” asked me to write a blog entry for her website; the article was well-received. Later, I found out someone who I was interacting with – an ESPN blogger – was the younger brother of one of my high school friends, we decided to meet in person over sushi. After a long conversation about basketball, he suggested that I start a blog and offered to help me start it; in addition, he provided initial promotion.

Just establishing a relationship via networking will not do you any good if your material is boring or if you are not good at what you do. So what I suggest is to put on your thinking cap and do something that no one else is doing. In my case, I wrote about something that nobody else had before and the piece garnered me invitations to guest appear on different podcasts to talk about the subject; the appearances would lead to me having my own podcast. The article idea, however, came from having a conversation on twitter. I will share the story surrounding the article in my next entry. But it all comes down back to networking.

The only way to be good at anything is by practicing it. This certainly is true for writing and podcasting. Try to write about something every day, even if you have no intentions of publishing it. Put together something with at least 250 words. Then when you do that, read it line by line to check for errors. After that, share it with a friend and get some feedback.

If you choose to record a podcast, create an outline first then record and listen to yourself afterward. Listening to yourself will help you gauge what areas you need to work, whether if you need to work on your pace, cadence, or making sure you have good flow, self-checking will help you grow stronger and more confident. If broadcasting is your end goal, recording podcasts is the best way to sharpen your skill.

If you have any questions about what you’ve read, just contact me on Twitter @SpitsGame.