August MediaCamp Workshops

The MediaCamp Workshops are intended to offer skills-building sessions for intellectuals who want to combine research and digital media for the public good.  The workshops are made possible by a partnership between JustPublics@365 and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (J-School), sponsored by the Ford Foundation.  Due to the generosity of the Ford Foundation, all sessions are FREE and open to any faculty, staff or graduate students at CUNY or other academic institutions who would like to attend.  You simply need to register using the link next to any workshops that interest you.  There is no limit to the number of workshops you can take (one or all).  However, workshops fill up quickly and there are often waiting lists, so please make every attempt to attend if you do sign up.  All events take place at the CUNY J-School, 219 W. 40th Street, New York, NY, 10018.

Op-Ed Pieces and Pitches: Framing Research for Public Audiences
Twitter: Social Media Practicum
Blogging: Social Media Practicum
Smart Photos with Smartphones
Being Interviewed on Camera: Big Media for Academics
Data Visualization: Making Sense of the Numbers

Here’s what faculty from CUNY, the New School, and Rutgers University had to say about previous MediaCamp Workshops:

  • “Great workshop. Great series. Thank you!”
  • “Fantastic teacher.”
  • “This was really useful!”
  • “Overall, a really great session! The opportunity to hear from [The New York Times Op-Ed page editor] and academics who had been published was invaluable.”
  • “These are a wonderful resource for the academic community and beyond.”
  • “The workshop on ‘Op-Ed’ pitches helped me get a series of articles published in American Prospect….and,when the Chris Hayes’ show (MSNBC) called, I was ready because of the ‘Being Interviewed on Camera’ workshop.”

Op-Ed Pieces and Pitches: Framing Research for Public Audiences

Thursday, August 8, 9am-12pm. Register here.
Instructor: Deb Stead

This three-hour workshop will focus on reaching the public via op-eds, essays, and interviews with reporters.  We’ll cover the idea of news pegs, the art of pitching a piece to editors, the difference between journalistic and academic writing, the editing process, and techniques for talking to journalists who contact you about your work.

As part of this discussion, an editor and a reporter will talk about what they’re looking for when it comes to describing (and demystifying) research or study results.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Recognize a news peg on which to hang an Op-Ed or article
  • Pitch an Op-Ed or article to a publication
  • Work within the give-and-take of a publication’s editing process
  • Demystify complex concepts for a general audience
  • Work with reporters seeking information about their research

Pre-session work: Before the workshop meets, participants will be asked to submit a brief description of their research and to read a few published Op-Eds or essays written by academics about their research.

Twitter: Social Media Practicum

Thursday, August 8, 1pm-4pm. Register here.

Instructor: Sandeep Junnarkar

In this hands-on workshop, we’ll work with Twitter, taking the steps necessary to establish your academic brand presence on this social media platform. We’ll explore the following skills:

  • Selecting an appropriate user ID or “handle”
  • Creating a useful Twitter profile
  • Writing style when limited to 140 characters
  • Following other Twitter personalities
  • Retweeting tweets and direct messaging
  • Integrating your Twitter presence into your blog

Blogging: Social Media Practicum

Thursday, August 8, 9am-12pm. Register here.

Instructor: Sandeep Junnarkar

This workshop takes academic attendees through the basic steps of establishing a blog — an online space to highlight their research and accomplishments. We’ll consider the merits of various free plug-and-play blogging platforms like and Tumblr. While each has its merits, we’ll delve into during this session, including the following skills:

  • Creating a account
  • Writing a post, title and excerpt for each entry
  • Uploading and/or embedding media (photographs and PDFs)
  • Hyperlinking to your work
  • Changing design themes
  • Updating or editing posts

Smart Photos with Smartphones

Thursday, August 8, 1pm-4pm. Register here.

Instructor: Scott Mlyn

Smart phones have enabled people in all walks of life to harness the power of photography and communicate like never before.  For academicians, smart phone photography can be a powerful tool to gather and document information during field research, augment presentations and connect to a wider audience through the myriad of communities online.

This course will concentrate on making better pictures with your smart phone.  We’ll discuss the basics of focus, exposure, lighting, composition, moment, as well as conceptualizing and developing a solid shooting plan.  We’ll also examine the use of some of the many apps available to help create effective imagery.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Conceptualize and develop an approach
  • Navigate technical issues such as lighting, exposure, composition and moment
  • Explore some of the many apps available for smart phone photography

Scott Mlyn is a photographer, photo editor, author, teacher and a director of multi-media films.  He has photographed extensively with an iPhone and his photographs were part of New York State of Mind, an art exhibition at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, CT.  He is the author of Before the Game, a photography book on major league baseball, and is principal photographer for the recent book On the High Line.  He has created multi-media films including Before the Game that was shown at the Museum of Modern Art. For many years he was deputy picture editor of BusinessWeek magazine.  Scott was also the director of photography of Sport magazine, a photo editor at the Associated Press, Forbes magazine and was recently a picture editor at The Daily, an iPad news publication.  He taught photography at the International Center of Photography as well as the Adorama Photography Workshops.

Being Interviewed on Camera: Big Media for Academics

Friday, August 9, 1pm-4pm. Register here.
On-camera opportunity that morning from 10a-11:30am, optional but strongly encouraged.

Instructors: Fred KaufmanSusan Farkas, Room 442

Do you want to share your research and knowledge with the widest possible audience? This hands-on workshop will prepare you to share your academic research with the public through the media.  You will learn what kinds of stories appeal to journalists, how to get your stories to the attention of editors, how to best formulate your ideas in print and how to be interviewed on camera.  The workshop is taught by CUNY Professors Frederick Kaufman, an experienced freelance writer and author of several books (appearances on NBC, CNBC, Fox Business News, Bloomberg TV, BBC, NPR, WNYC, and many others), and Susan Farkas, a veteran CBC, NBC News and United Nations television producer, who now runs an independent media company, Farkas Media.

Participants will learn the basics of the television interview, including:

  • How to pitch your story ideas to broadcast news editors
  • How to contextualize your ideas within the parameters of broadcast news
  • How to field a wide variety of questions
  • How to act and react in front of the camera
  • How to “own” your interview

Pre-session work: In advance of the workshop, our instructors will be available for a 1.5-hour session in the CUNY TV studios. Workshop members can sign up, first come first served, for 5-6 slots to have an interview on camera, that will then be used in the workshop later that day.

In preparation for this workshop, all participants will be asked to write a pitch about their work to, say, CBS Evening News, CNN or the Today Show. Try to convince them to produce a feature story or bring you on for an interview.  Think like an editor:  what is new or topical about your story?  Why would a general audience be interested?  What visuals would you suggest?  Can you tell your idea in one punchy sentence?  Write about 200 – 250 words and submit your pitch one week in advance to Susan Farkas <> and Frederick Kaufman <> .

You may want to consider these criteria as the basis of your pitch:

  • Impact (how many people are affected?)
  • Conflict (is there someone who believes the opposite? OR, is this a story in which there are two opposed sides?)
  • Prominence (any famous people involved?)
  • Timeliness (there’s a “new” in news. What will happen tomorrow is better than what happened yesterday)
  • Proximity (any New York area resonance?)
  • Novelty (Dog bites man—not news; Man bites dog—news) 

Data Visualization: Making Sense of the Numbers

Friday, August 9, 9am-12pm. Register here.

Instructor: Amanda Hickman

Good journalists can take impenetrable policy speak and academese and transform it into language their readers understand. In the newsroom, a good data visualization doesn’t just demonstrate some findings, it makes the numbers accessible and relevant to the general public.  Increasingly, academics want to have these skills to be able to reach wider audiences.

In this workshop, we’ll explore some of the better looking data visualization projects that have come out of newsrooms recently and what makes them work, and we’ll work with some straightforward tools for making good looking data visualizations and publishing them online.

Perhaps you already know how to generate a histogram from SPSS but you can’t figure out why your otherwise very bright brother’s eyes glaze over when you show him your awesome histograms.

We’ll work from the assumption that you know how to make responsible graphs and charts with your data, but could use some help making them things that a lay person wants to investigate.

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3 thoughts on “August MediaCamp Workshops

  1. Pingback: » NodeXL, #asa13 Blog — Alex Hanna

  2. Donald W. Light

    These workshops look like just what I need. I’m receiving the Distinguished Career Award from ASA in the practice of sociology, but I know I’m not using media as well as I could and I’m in the middle of a serious campaign to warn people about the harmful side effects from prescription drugs that usually have few new benefits to offset their risks.

  3. Matt R

    These workshops look rad, thanks for offering them!

    A bunch of us sociologists have already booked flights for a conference in the city that starts the 9th. Will you guys be broadcasting any of these workshops in some form (video/podcast/etc.)? I’d love to catch up on what I missed!

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