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I attended the  first annual Ethnic and Community Media Awards at the Black Forest Inn banquet room on December 5, 2008. The event was co-sponsored by New America Media and the Twin Cities Media Alliance. It was hard to tell how many publications were represented, but it seemed that every pub, except for the dailies, was represented.  I won a second place award for a piece I did for the Park Bugle about Catholic Charities Residence for chronic alcoholic men. My piece along with those of the other top winners in each category was automatically nominated for New America Media’s National Ethnic Media awards, which will be presented on June 4, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here’s an article about the event.

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Once again, I’ll be offering the Writing for Specialized and Community Publications workshop.  If you’re interested in attending, please go to the Loft’s web site (or take a look at the Loft’s latest course catalog) to sign up.

It was fun talking with and meeting all the writers at the September 25, 2008 Networking Workshop at the Loft. I hope you all had fun and found at least one useful thing to help you next Wednesday when you attend the Minnesota Magazine and Publications Association Magazine Celebration on October 1st. Please let me know what the experience was like for you – or just write to say HI and let me know how you’re doing.

As promised, here are some links to podcasts and books.

Writing for Specialized and Community Publications July 19, 2008, 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

This region is rich in neighborhood and “niche” publications (e.g., Family Times, Minnesota Women’s Press, and many more). Such publications can be a great—and often overlooked—place for writers to get started. This how-to session helps new writers build their confidence, skills, and portfolio—and get that first byline and clips. We’ll review various markets in the metro area and western Wisconsin for format and content. We’ll also talk about whom to contact, what to write, how to write, how to interview subjects, how to get a byline, and how to get paid. We’ll also talk about pieces that have potential to be sold to multiple papers.”

Dear New Writers,

Several people have been asking me about this during the past month or so, so here goes a bit of a rant:

Please think twice about giving away your work (whether it’s writing or even editing someone else’s work). Of course, it’s about self-respect and all that goes along with it, but the obvious reason for not doing this is that any writing-related work takes time.

Often those who request free services say “it won’t take very much time.” But it does take time–and the time you spend doing freebies takes away from your paying work, drumming up paying work and your outside life, which you must manage if you’re doing freelance work.

If someone asks you to do something, they ought to value your work enough to offer something in return (if not money, then something that you find valuable).  Without negotiating this ahead of time, you wouldn’t expect a free haircut, even if your stylist is fast and good, would you? Your stylist has to pay bills and so do you.

There’s a great book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini that helps with skills such as negotiating and dealing with challenging situations. If you need a little extra help along those lines (and most of us do), check it out.

Hope that helps!

Writing for Specialized and Community Publications

This region is rich in neighborhood and “niche” publications (e.g., Family Times, Minnesota Women’s Press, and many more). Such publications can be a great—and often overlooked—place for writers to get started. This how-to session helps new writers build their confidence, skills, and portfolio—and get that first byline and clips. We’ll review various markets in the metro area and western Wisconsin for format and content. We’ll also talk about whom to contact, what to write, how to write, how to interview subjects, how to get a byline, and how to get paid. We’ll also talk about pieces that have potential to be sold to multiple papers. Bring a bag lunch.