BBC

Female & Cynical: A Journalist Considers Entrepreneurship

Is entrepreneurship a new type of feminism? That’s one of the many questions host Ashley Milne-Tyte tackles in her podcast, The Broad Experience.

I was recently a guest on Ashley’s program to talk about how I ended up being plunged into the gung-ho world of female entrepreneurship, thanks to self-publishing my eBook, getting it backed with Kickstarter, and trying to work AND be a mom.

As a cynical journalist it’s been hard to change my way of thinking and buy into the start-up zeal.I keep thinking about a piece I did with BBC reporter Philippa Thomas in Silicon Valley in 1999, right before that bubble burst.  Is all the hoopla this time around going to evaporate or is this truly a seachange of how the country’s economic engine is going to run?

Listen to the podcast.

 

 

Posted in BBC, Books, entrepreneur, jobs, moms, start-up
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Prepare Before an On-Camera Interview…or Any Video Appearance

At the BBC reporters were always told to try and come across as a “trusted friend.” Some were more successful at this than others. Tone is tricky to master but whether you are a CEO apologizing for leaving passengers stranded on the runway or a stylist demonstrating how to bling out shoes, always aim to come across as instructive, quotable, and likable. But speaking concisely while exuding warmth takes preparation.

I’m a firm believer in planning out your time on camera by writing out a plan that includes conversationally written phrases. Just firing up the webcam with a press release you highlighted five minutes earlier is asking for trouble.

THE TOP LINE METHOD

What is your “top line,” the reason you are on camera in the first place? Why should we be listening to you? Before the camera switches on, take ten minutes to mix a bit of marketing and psychology with some basic journalism and create several finely tuned phrases that can be visited over and over again.

This is my basic outline:

1. Write out a full top sentence that sums up why you are there.

2. Write out three simple phrases that back up or demonstrate your topic or position.

3. Write out a final thought that kicks the conversation forward.

An outline like this can be written by PR folks as talking points to prep execs on a vetted message or casually by anyone for any topic, whether you are talking about parakeet care or a change in interest rates. I like to write out the first sentence in full, just in case things get crazy and hectic before the camera goes on. Once I’ve got that full thought out of my mouth I can relax, expand with my three points, and then keep the audience wanting more by talking about what’s to come.

Manoush, you might say, I have more points to make than just this! Or, this interview is going to be twenty minutes long and one top line just isn’t enough! To which I reply:

  • Use the top line method to expand on each of your points or keep going, creating as many top lines as you need. In my experience, the top line is the heart of your appearance. You might travel down various veins and arteries, going off on tangents for details or to make a supporting point, but all ideas flow back to the heart. This will ensure your audience walks away with a message they can remember.
  • If you are going to be interviewed for twenty minutes, how is the interview going to be used? Will it run in its entirety or be edited for soundbites? Your interviewer might ask you the same question over and over again trying to get you to come up with a certain duration, tone, or clarity. Ask what he’s looking for. If it is going to be a long unedited interview, prepare as many top lines as you need.

To find out how to deal with your nerves when you actually go on air just watch the “How to Go Live” clip on my video page. For all my video tip and techniques, check out my eBook Camera Ready and follow me on Twitter @manoushz.

Posted in BBC, Interviewing, media tips, media training, On-Camera Tips, Popular, reporting work, webcasts
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More than a Journalist: Becoming an “Author”

It feels very strange to make the transition from interviewer to interviewee. Writing a book was never on my To Do list until the Vook publishing platform made me reconsider. Now, as the countdown to the release of my multimedia enhanced eBook CAMERA READY continues (out Tuesday!), my team and I are working our butts off to finish the Kickstarter campaign with a bang and launch this damn book with a holler.  It was kind of nice to stop and reflect a bit when the blog, Coloured Collective, asked me for an interview. Who are YOU finding inspiring these days? I discovered it wasn’t just my 2 year-old who is into Elmo.

 

CC: What makes you a colourful woman?
MZ: My excessive potty mouth? No, I guess I’m colorful (or colourful- I also speak British) because I just can’t help myself from jumping into a conversation and asking lots of questions. I’m nosy and that’s always been very helpful as a journalist and makes people remember me, for better or worse. I remember a game we once played in the BBC’s Washington bureau where each person had to be labelled with one word. The word they come up with for me was “zesty.” Like a good salad dressing.

CC: Who are some of your colourful inspirations?
MZ: Right now, I would have to say Elmo. My 2 year-old is in love and I have developed a real fondness for Elmo’s combination of kindness and sass. Plus, red is a power color that really pops on camera!

CC: What are some of your projects right now?
MZ: Sheesh, too many. Besides having a multimedia enhanced ebook coming out on Tuesday, we are running a Kickstarter campaign to get the ebook’s “Quality Video for Everyone” message out. I’m a first time author and finding the whole process very exhilarating and emotional. I’m also piloting a public radio show about how innovation is affecting the NYC economy. Plus, I do my regular media training. Oh, and I have 2 kids and I’ve been dealing with the New York public school system and Kindergarten placement. That’s a full-time job in itself!

CC: What message would you like to share with our readers today?
MZ: Just do the best you can. If you are a mom, don’t kill yourself but also, don’t put everything off “until the kids are older” because things are moving too fast in media and the digital world to jump back in whenever you want. And not everyone is going to LOVE you. After being a news ‘wunderkind’ in my twenties, it’s hard to get used to that. But I’ll always have Elmo.

Posted in BBC, Books, Interviewing, media, moms
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just 1 Minute of News

The website OneMinuteNews.com launched last week. It offers, obviously, a one minute video wrap up of news (mostly AP footage, as far as I can tell) and claims: “You might notice news is different here. We give it to you straight up.”

They don’t seem to have quite got their footing yet but the idea of a minute of video news has been tested.  Successes, for example, include the BBC’s One-Minute of World News and its “60 Seconds” on BBC3.

Obviously, as an ex-BBC reporter/producer I’m partial to my roots but here’s the thing: to get people to believe everything they see in 1 minute, I think you need to have established cred.   I’m curious to see if OneMinuteNews will be able to establish itself as anything than just another news aggregator that recuts wire service video. Am I soooo Generation X?  Here’s Fast Company’s take on the new venture.  Short and interesting read if you are a news nerd.


Posted in BBC, future of news, media, Uncategorized, video ideas, webcasts
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Questioning the Open Road

Looking out at the future of publishing from the podium of the eBook Summit.

Happy 2010- may it be busy and lucrative for all of us.  So let’s talk new ventures…

I hosted mediabistro’s eBook Summit a few weeks ago and was intrigued by the presentation made by Open Road, a supposedly new kind of publishing company.

Founded by former HarperCollins head honcho Jane Friedman and Oscar-winning film producer Jeffrey Sharp, Open Road claims to be a new kind of publishing company that will brand authors and multimedia market them.  That means, Friedman and Sharp said, a lot of video content too, not just the written word.

Their purpose, they say, is to change the relationship of the author & consumer.  For example, they are aggregating all the material out there about William Styron (ie. working with Duke to digitize his papers, posting old audio clips, creating “premium” content like a documentary with the help of his daughters, etc.), all to bring Styron’s work to a new audience.

But can they seriously make money?  How many eyeballs can a well-crafted (and expensive) doc that is posted online really attract?   There’s already been a fair amount of controversy over the company, before it even really gets content out there.  Read this NYT op-ed and this article about the possible legal nastiness in publishing.

P.S. at eBook I also interviewed my old friend, the BBC’s Katty Kay (see the picture above)…she mentioned a crazy stat: her husband’s book was launched in the UK on Oct. 1- one of 800(!) titles that were released that same day. Yikes. Between the pay, the market, and the competition, getting a book out just doesn’t hold the same cache for journalists that it used to.

Posted in BBC, Books, conferences, media, mediabistro, new york times, video ideas
Tagged , , , , ,

Hot Women in Media

Katty
Katty
Alex
Alex

I haven’t told my friend Katty Kay that she looks like Alex from The Desperate Housewives (seriously, don’t they look alike?).  I spied Alex at the sandbox in Cobble Hill a few weeks back.  And yes, we were with our kids.

Katty’s book Womenomics is now #5 on Amazon’s Women & Business list.  She wrote it with ABC correspondent Claire Shipman.  I was Katty’s producer in the nineties when she first started reporting from the US for the BBC in Washington.

Her book is about getting the career you’ve always wanted without sacrificing your life.  It applies mostly to corporate lasses…and I have to say, the freelance/consultant model is working better for a lot of us.   I went and joined Katty backstage when she appeared on Colbert in June (watch it here, he was such a pushover for a strawberry blonde Brit!)…and went to Diane von Furstenberg’s studio that night for the book party.  Very entertaining to watch the mainstream media machine move into place to support its own.  Almost everyone I spoke to was looking over my shoulder to see if there was someone better else to talk to…not that I took it personally!

Speaking of women in mainstream media, Forbes recently posted its Most Influential Women in Media list.  Only surprise on there was Dooce.

Posted in BBC, Books, fancy friends, jobs, media tips
Tagged , , , , , , ,