A job for journalists?

Steve Champeon, the revered (and much-feared) ListMom of the listserv WebDesign-L, posted on Facebook that his web design firm (Hesketh.com) is looking for an “online strategist.” A Facebook friend commented that the position sounds like a job for “a journalist with web smarts.”

Is it? And, if so, how are J-Schools preparing students so that they can land these good jobs in the future?

Here’s the posting:

How many hours since you last posted to a blog? Are you naturally fascinated by Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube? Do you have valued colleagues and friends you have yet to meet offline? Do you deconstruct the menu’s labeling metaphor at dinner? Does a good day include equal parts collaboration, decision making and measurement of the results your team created?

If you answered yes, we are equally enthusiastic about you!

Occupational Summary

As an Online Strategist for hesketh.com you will define and execute business strategies to achieve measurable outcomes. The Online Strategist role spans many activities from strategic to tactical, with a primary goal of maximizing mission, outreach and program revenue using Web technologies for values-led organizations.

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Communications strategy. Identify, lead, and execute strategic initiatives to create measurable results — including consensus building, data-informed decision making, and roll-up-your-sleeves execution. You have the confidence to make decisions and the influence skills to get individuals, as well as committees, on-board with a plan of action. You know when to use Facebook, when LinkedIn is the right community venue, and when a customized, open-source solution is the way to go. You know how to tell a story online, in multiple media. And to top it off, you know what metrics to monitor for each strategic goal.

2. User-centered research and synthesis. Inform strategy through the selection and execution of appropriate qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including contextual interviewing, usability testing, online surveys and others. You have the patience to listen to silence and observe when a user is trying to accomplish a task and the ability to translate what you observe into engaging online experiences. This may include information architecture (sitemaps, workflows & wireframes), use cases, personas, and engagement strategies.

3. Innovate & play nice with others. Contribute to, and stay current on, the business trends and challenges of our target markets of values-led organizations and higher education communities. Demonstrate an eagerness to continuously learn, the confidence to share your knowledge, and the ability to apply new skills and trends within a diverse, user-centered design team.

4. Future of hesketh.com. Support executive management in developing company growth plans and contributing to the development and fulfillment of company goals and objectives. Lead the team in engagement with both local and national communities.

Qualifications – Education

MBA or equivalent combination of relevant education and experience.

* 2+ years management, strategic marketing, or online consulting experience.
* 4+ years of professional experience with, or exposure to, user-centered design disciplines: copy writing/content strategy, graphic/visual design, information architecture, interaction design, online communications strategy, metrics/analysis, social media/community, business analysis, and user research.
* Experience creating and leading presentations of deliverables and concepts to clients at all levels of an organization.
* Consulting firm (agency) experience preferred.
* Non-profit or EDU experience desired.

Skills – Must-haves

* Strong understanding of the business of the Web and values-led organizations.
* Demonstrated experience with business analytics.
* Customer-oriented with a proven history of understanding needs and delivering measurable results.
* People person with tact and diplomatic instincts.
* Ability to help clients articulate business goals and translate them into objectives and business metrics, bridging the gap between client needs, user requirements, and technical capabilities, feasibility and constraints.
* Ability to switch gears from thinking big picture to sweating the details, sometimes in the same day.
* Excellent group facilitation and conflict resolution skills.
* Exceptional project management, time management, and team influence skills.
* Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously.
* Excellent phone, written, and verbal communications, including executive-level presentation skills.
* Ability to take initiative, work with little to no direction and confidently get things done.
* Experience with content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress, and Moveable Type.
* Passion for doing well by doing good.


* Experience with one or more non-profit technology (ex., CiviCRM, Donor Perfect, Blackbaud, Convio).
* Product management from market research to profitability.
* Experience with agile development process in addition to waterfall or traditional software development processes.
* An established online network and persona in social media channels or willingness and ability to develop one.
* Survived a Drupal upgrade, or two.
* Foosball skills.


WordPress: A “blockquote” happy accident

“The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos.” – Jim Hightower, former Texas Secretary of Agriculture


The quote above shows what happens when you add an image to the blockquote (“) tag in WordPress. MSU J-School Prof Joe Grimm said that a student discovered this welcome result after mistakenly adding an image to the coding for the blockquote.

WordPress users can add blockquotes to their by using posts the icon in Visual view (b-quote in HTML view) (see the red arrow below). To add a thumbnail image, just insert your cursor inside the tag.

WordPress blockquote in Visual view

In Visual view

WordPress dashboard/posting in HTML view

In HTML view

Nebraska students on grammar

Sue Burzynski Bullard of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln had her students celebration National Grammar Day on video. Submitted by Nancy Hanus.

Social Media explained in two minutes

Recommended by Nancy Hanus

How do laid-off journalists survive?

New York Times op-ed contributor Sheelah Kolhatkar uses laid-off magazine writer Paul Smalera to illustrate the life of today’s Internet freelancers, many of whom are now lucky to make half what they previously earned on staff.

Since Smalera lost his job when Conde Nast’s Portfolio closed, he has survived (without health insurance) by writing articles for online publications and by subcontracting to provide online promotion. Kolhatkar compares displaced journalists who are now struggling to build a career online to the monks who kept writing alive during the Dark Ages.

Microsoft Live Lab’s Seadragon

From Karl Gude:

Zoom into images easily!

In case you haven’t played with this, this site gives viewers the ability to zoom into a high res photo or image that you’ve linked to. Click on the lower right button first then the – + signs. I’ve used one of my children’s watercolors in this one…

Screengrab of Seadragon

Microsoft Live Lab's Seadragon

Teach your students how to become a Na’vi

Tom Cruise Photoshopped to become a Na'vi

Tom Cruise before and after

The Web Design Library tutorial uses Photoshop to turn anyone into a Na’vi