A moment of panic hit me at the end of the first meetup of the Online News Association’s New York City group. The presenter, Aleeda, was wrapping up the event. She asked if anyone was hiring. Cynthia from the New York Times stood up and announced they were hiring a social media marketing manager.
Then Aleeda asked if anyone was seeking a job.
“Now’s your chance to give your minute-long marketing speech,” she said.
I froze. This was my chance? Iâ€™d have to use my mouth words? My mind raced. I wasnâ€™t really ready to pitch myself to a room full of media professionals. How was I supposed to sound simultaneously humble and overqualified â€”Â to strike that perfect note of talent and grace â€” without notecards? While I pondered this, my window to amaze closed.
Here’s what I should have said:
Hi, my name is Dan MacLeod. I’m a writer, editor, photographer and nascent Web developer whose main interest is business and economic reporting. I can shoot and edit video and photos, and I’ve used every form of social media I can find to engage readers and report stories. I have more ideas in an hour than I know what to do with. I’m fast, persistent and a slave to accuracy.
Before I moved to New York I was a student at the University of Southern Maine, where I ran the student paper. While editor, I reorganized the editorial, advertising, and distribution departments and moved the newsroom to a Web-first publishing model on a WordPress platform. I ran the business operations and put the paper on track to increase circulation 30 percent this year. I did this while editing and reporting for a daily in Portland, freelancing for the state’s biggest daily newspaper as their Portland stringer, and â€” oh yeah â€” taking classes. I’m also the proud co-founder of a failed news organization. I regularly update my blog here.
You should hire me because, in two years, I’ve had literally every job in journalism: I’ve sold ads, interned, managed a newsroom, edited copy, covered political campaigns, live-blogged debates, produced videos and broken major stories. I’ve designed websites, front pages and marketing campaigns. I’ve even delivered the paper.
But mostly, you should hire me because I understand journalism is a process, not a set of rules. I have a solid grasp of the fundamentals â€” but I possess something I think is more rare: a willingness to take risks and fall on my face.
Next @ONANYC meetup, Iâ€™ll take the biggest risk, for me, and make this pitch in person.
You can reach me at dan[at]dsmacleod[dot]com. Follow me @dsmacleod.