SXSW 2019 - “Art for Hire: How Creatives Make Money in Music”

By Thomas Palmer

Another notable panel I attended during my Austin visit was entitled “Art for Hire: How Creatives Make Money in Music” hosted by Elliot Jacobson alongside Kate Sugg, Kallie Marie, and K. Marie Kim.

These industry professionals make one hundred percent of their income from music, so it was interesting to hear not only their perspective on community building and valuing your work as an artist but the general skills they feel are necessary for success.

After their formal introduction, they began discussing the importance of valuing yourself by choosing your work wisely, differentiating career moves from short-sighted actions, and by finally NOT being bashful. Be confident! Stand by your work and your price. In addition to valuing yourself, an artist (or anyone for that matter) must understand he/she is only as great as the team that they have around them. The tires cannot be the transmission, and the transmission can not be the engine. They all work in tandem to make the car move forward.

This car can stand as a metaphor applicable to WRAS, my band, or a random startup company in Silicon Valley. Jacobson’s panel reinforced the concept of music being a BUSINESS, and since I refuse to be a starving artist, I must learn the said business.

SXSW 2019 - “How To Get A Global Mindset In A Local Music Industry”

By Thomas Palmer

My second day at the South By South West Music Conference I attended a panel entitled “How To Get A Global Mindset In A Local Music Industry,” held by Jesper Skibsby.

Skibsby is the CEO of WARM (World Airplay Radio Monitor), the first large-scale radio monitoring service focusing on individuals in the music industry. Although this was the shortest panel I attended at 20 minutes long, this was easily the most informative.

The primary objective of this panel was to get the audience to understand the importance of accurately monitoring statistics. Inaccurate data reports in combination with blatant manipulation by both the streaming platforms and record labels pollute the credibility of platforms like Nielsen and Billboard while creating a façade that emerging artist often are blinded by.

Fortunately, I am lucky enough to attend panels like this to know where to spot inflated numbers. Also, he briefly discussed attacking your emerging market. Meaning in whatever region(s) an artist sees a statistical spike in numbers, it is imperative they move beyond a digital presence and physically touch their fans. This panel was helpful and applicable to my career in music. I’m grateful for the insight.

SXSW 2019 – Jason Reddick (Mentorship)

By Thomas Palmer

 On Saturday, the final day of the SXSW Music Conference, I attended a mentorship and sat down with Jason Reddick. Jason is the associate director of ASCAP. ASCAP is a performance rights organization that collects royalties on the behalf of artist, while helping them land writing, production, and synchronization placements.

He not only gave me a good response to my personal music, but gave me invaluable tips on the music industry. The one that stuck out the most to me was our discussion about the value of a record label. My initial question was something to the effect of “Do we even need labels anymore in this climate?” His response was “It’s all about what works for you.” It was simple, but it stuck. How are you going to distribute your music? How are you going to market your music?

In many cases an artist and his immediate team do not have the infrastructure nor network to reach the masses, but the record label does. The trick is coming to them with enough leverage to negotiate the terms of the agreement in favor of yourself. This takes groundwork. I’m ready for the groundwork.

My SEJC 2019 Recap

By: Joshua Fife

The Southeastern Journalism Conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was an amazing experience that left me feeling inspired and invigorated.

All of the presentations were amazing, including the keynote speaker, Phil Williams. He is the chief investigative reporter for Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 and a seasoned whistleblower. He has uncovered corruption, lead to Tennessee laws being changed, and has won numerous awards for his work. He showed us what the relentless pursuit of truth looked like, and assured us that though it is not an easy road, it is rewarding.

Earlier in the conference I caught the tail-end of a presentation from Peter Cooper, Grammy-nominated musician and award-winning journalist for The Tennessean. He talked about writing obituaries following the death of legends like Johnny Cash and George Jones. He didn’t give us some magic secret on how to craft a good hook, he simply told us to write from the heart. His classic article, “Somehow, Johnny Cash is Dead”, was birthed from the first instinct that he had at the time; that the indomitable force that was Johnny Cash had somehow been overcome, and Cooper, along with the rest of the world, was left in awe. He encouraged feature writers to scrap inverted pyramid and experiment with different styles, and to never be objective. Rather than using balance, feature writing uses emotion to tell stories. Good writers can translate what they feel onto paper, but great writers can take those same emotions and make the reader feel them.

Following Cooper, I stepped into Stephanie Dean’s world of virtual reality. I had never considered the use of VR and augmented reality for storytelling, but I got an early taste of interesting new developments in immersive storytelling. Telling stories has always been an “immersive” experience, however new technologies bring new ways. Radio and television once changed the way people consumed news, and now VR is offering another way to bury yourself in the story like never before. We tested some VR stories that are out now, and research has shown that virtual reality has the ability to stick with people longer and impact them in a different way than traditional methods. They are currently being used to tell powerful and often emotional stories, but journalists are only beginning to scratch the surface of VR’s potential.

The last (and my personal favorite) presenter that I saw was a photographer by the name of John Partipilo. He had traveled to many places with his camera, showing us projects that he worked on in Iraq and Cuba. He also showed us the kinds of people he liked to shoot, sometimes for news, sometimes for personal endeavors. His subjects were typically the disenfranchised: the homeless, gang members, survivors of natural disasters, and people living in poverty. He, like good journalists and photojournalists do, had an amazing way of giving a voice to the voiceless. It was amazing how he was able to tell so much in one still image, and make reality look so beautiful or so grim that it seemed fake. He hardly alters his photos and preserves the harsh realism that comes with his work. There aren’t a thousand words that can describe any one of his pictures, and they’re worth much more than that. Beyond showing us the pictures, he also describe the lengths to which he went to secure the photos, and that was what really inspired me. I was astonished hearing about how this seasoned, award-winning photojournalist had hopped out of a moving car to sneak a picture of President Obama (easily the coolest picture of Obama I’ve ever seen) before getting escorted back by the secret service. Or how he dressed up as a refugee just to sneak into immigrant camps and get a few shots before getting kicked out. 

 The message that seemed to come through, in some form or fashion, in every discussion was to dare to be different, break the status quo, try something new, and think outside the box. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. This golden nugget hit close to home for me. Isn’t that the point for anyone who works on a craft? To try new things and develop your own unique style. That’s what makes creative industries so rewarding to work in, and what separates us from basic cookie-cutter, desk jobs.

Investigating Large Companies, and the Empathy Involved

By: William Solomons

Jaime Satterfield, an investigative reporter from the Knoxville News Sentinel, shared her experiences working on exposing horrid working conditions for employees under the Tennessee Valley Authority and Jacobs Engineering.

She gave us advice on how to approach stories that may seem intimidating and that have a unique human element to them. For her, the people afflicted by coal ash, the primary source of ailment for the workers, were more than just statistics and legal reports. They were husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. She said that when reporters seek to write stories that could impact lives, it’s important to have empathy toward sources. By meeting with the wives of the workers, she was able to truly capture how much pain and suffering the families were going through.

She said her main purpose of being an investigative reporter was to inspire people and that she wanted to “advocate for truth and justice.” If anything, her discussion on empathy in investigative reporting and the challenges therein has inspired me personally to pursue the field even more and to work to shine light on issues that are facing us.

It’s important to continue to stand up for those who do not have a voice and to be helpful to someone, according to Satterfield. My hope is to take her words with me and to tell others of her work so that in the end we can tell as many people’s stories as possible and invoke change on corrupt business and governments.

Great Characters Make The Story

By: Kelsey Perkins

I attended this session and it taught me how to really connect with the people of the stories I cover. However, I would like to point out that Christine Eschenfelder was an awesome speaker. She was a very experienced journalist but made sure she wasn’t the center of attention. Eschenfelder gave consistent eye contact with each and everyone of us and actively engaged with the crowd by slowly strolling down the aisle while asking for our thoughts or opinions as we went through a new topic of her slideshow. Not only was the multi skilled journalist easily relatable, she presented extremely helpful tips of what it takes to become a stronger journalist.

In her presentation she embedded in our heads that “great characters make the story” and that a journalist should always tell their story through people because people connect with other people. Statistics are helpful to add validity to a story but with our hard wired brain we often forget numbers but hardly never people. This technique provokes emotions that makes us humans. This essentially brings in an audience and allows them to be more invested in a captivating story. Unfortunately, every story is not always happy or uplifting and having the job as journalist can be an emotional rollercoaster because you see the best and the worst of. However, becoming a voice for the voiceless is the determination that helps a powerful journalist continue to shine light on what is hidden in the dark.

What I have truly learned from Eschenfelder is that if a journalist turns the camera away from them, they will find the story in the people who are affected. Find. Observe. Listen. Letting the silence grow and allowing your vibrant characters talk is the birth of an incredible story

SEJC 2019 Onsite Competition Luncheon

At noon on Saturday, Feb. 16, our crew gathered together at the Middle Tennesee State ballroom to celebrate the past few days of competing hard and learning new techniques to take home. This luncheon would be the end to our efforts at SEJC 2019 – but not the end of our fun, we’d be heading to Nashville to explore the city before the day was over.

However, it wouldn’t be a Georgia State student media gathering if we didn’t find a way to spice up the award ceremony before it begun. We crowded around a table – all 16 students and our advisor – even though it only fit a maximum of 13 seats. Why spread out to a separate table when we can share seats and knock into each other as we dine on lasagna, salad and garlic bread?

Our little family was right at home as the award announcements began. We faced some fierce competition but took home some big winners nonetheless.

From The Signal, Julian Pineda placed third in the photo feature competition and Amber Kirlew placed third in the competition for design/layout. From Panther Report Network, Tyrik Wynn received second in the current events competition.

The night before, Georgia State student media took home 11 Best of the South 2018 awards.

“If nothing else, SEJC proved once again that The Signal is turning heads and making an impact. I’m incredibly proud of our team’s growth this year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented and driven people,” Daniel Varitek, The Signal’s editor in chief, said.

SATURDAY, OCT. 27 / Libel, Libel, Libel

By: Ada Wood

The second day of the CMA Fall 2018 National Convention began, and I started off with a panel on a topic I love reporting on: the environment and climate change. 

Dr. Edward Maibach introduced the material from Climate Matters in the Newsroom which can be found online at The media library includes a function where journalist can search by their city and see the effects of climate change in the local community.

After this panel I went to the Grand Hall where I sat down for a resume review, which gave me some great feedback onto how to improve my resume. I visited the engagement center and the silent auction while I was there as well.

I sat in for a few more panels including writing with voice, data reporting, the reliability gap and also for the ACP Pacemaker Awards Ceremony.

However, my favorite panel of the entire convention was “Editor-in-Grief 1: Rule with an Iron Fist, Wear a Velvet Glove.” The speaker was Michael Koretzky, from, on how to be a leader and how it applies to journalism. Koretzky’s section was crazy. He wore an all red suit with “LIBEL” written all over it, wore sunglasses inside, had a whip and tossed cigars into the crowd for participating viewers. He was loud, crazy and started the presentation with the communist national anthem.

But most of all, he was smart, really smart. For the midnight snack, I ended up sitting down with him and some of the girls who work with him and at the event. We talked for hours until 2 a.m. about how to improve my writing and The Signal style. I was so thankful for this time together as a group and I feel more motivated now than ever to make a change.

FRIDAY, OCT. 26 / Perfecting The Pitch

By: Ada Wood

After an eight-hour bus ride and meeting some fascinating people from the student media at Georgia Southern on Thursday, the 2018 CMA Fall National Convention really took flight early Friday morning.

The first panel I attended was one of my favorites from the entire convention. Titled “Perfecting the Pitch,” Katie Myrick from Global Press taught students how to do just that.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. What strategies did they really have for me to get better at pitching to my editor? The answer was a detailed process for more in depth, analytical and meaningful stories.

The Global Press pitch process has four main steps: action, reaction, consequence and context. Action is what is happening at the most basic level. Reaction is how communities and people are responding to the action and which perspectives are most important or most unique for the story.

Consequences is a step I often forget in pitching my story, and sometimes even in writing it. This step looks at the previous two and works to identify what is going to change and what the first two steps signify on a broader level. Lastly, is context; what the readers need to know to understand the story, be it historical, political or cultural information.

The other panels I attended that day were just as interesting. These included the topics of “fake news,” FBI strategies for interviewing and reporting the opioid crisis. The last panel of the day, “Writing Long” was one more highlight.

Mark Siebert led the discussion on how to tackle long-form feature pieces and not lose the reader on the way. I often prefer writing longer pieces, so I was grateful for the advice. One fact that caught my eye in the presentation was that stories of over 1,200 words receive more clicks, longer engagement and more interaction according to Pew Research and the API.

The whole day was filled with learning and thought-provoking topics. Each panel gave me knew ideas of how to transform my writing and try new, creative techniques.

CMMW 2018: Storytelling and Reporting

At the College Mulit-Media Workshop, I learned so many valuable lessons. As I begin my transition into my new role as the news director of GSTV. I had the opportunity to come together with other students, that were in the same boat as I am. The best part of the workshop was when we were able to watch a veteran reporters' work. His work showed me that there are so many different ways to storytelling and that your writing really counts! I was able to use this method during my project. During my project, I wandered around campus and tried to find many different story ideas by asking students, and finding flyers around campus. 

I finally found a story by wandering into the school's art museum. I noticed that the university was implementing a new exhibit in their art museum. The exhibit features instructors and dancers as they educated the guests about what it means to be and feel like a fetus. I thought that the concept was really intriguing and I was able to gather some b-roll, interviews, and additional information in turn it into a quick package within an hour. 

My work can be found at the following link below.

I would definetely attend the conference again because not only did I learn, but we were also able to bridge the gap between the different media organizations on campus.