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SAJA Bay Area Panel Discussion 'How Journalists Can Stay On Top'

posted Oct 22, 2010, 11:33 PM by Diana Rohini LaVigne

SAJA Hosts Expert Panel Discussion at Menlo College



South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) Bay Area hosted a networking and panel discussion event on Jan. 30 at the Menlo College’s International Russell Center in Atherton, CA. The expert panel of three provided the attendees with valuable knowledge on how stay at the top-of-their-game, what journalists can do to keep new story ideas generating, and what risks and pitfalls to avoid or embrace in the world of journalism.


With so much publishing happening online, panelist Roger Strukhoff, West Coast Bureau Chief and President of SYS-CON Media offered some timely information regarding online media.   Strukhoff suggests, “Find your own voice and stick with it. This will help you achieve better success.  It’s also important to find out what you really like and then go out and do it.  Stay with what you like to do.”


Successful freelancer and panelist, Dan Turner who works for major media outlets including MacWeek, Eweek, and The New York Times, adds, “As a freelancer, you are really jumping into the process without a net. But remember that although each publication owns the article, the writer always owns the knowledge gained in the process.  Use this knowledge to build other story ideas using those new contacts.”


“To be successful, you have to understand its all about the story.  Does the writer have a natural sensibility towards the story? They need to have this to survive.”, notes book author, Jim Fadiman.


Although the panelists came from vastly different segments of journalism, they agreed on many points made during the event.  One mentioned was once you’ve written siginificantly in one area or in one style, it is hard to get editors and publishers to recognize you outside this framework.  Each panelist spoke about trying to maintain diversity in your writing by taking on new assignments, even if pro-bono and trying different length articles on occasion.


Journalists attending also learned that good articles are written that ask questions, that good writers can find something intersting in everything, and to resist all impulses to resort to ‘cut and paste’ journalism.


Attendees were from a range of industries and levels of experience from newbie to established but the discussion was driven by audience participation and geared towards their individual needs.   One of the SAJA event coordinators noted that although the attendence fell short of their desired target, it was the first solo SAJA sponsored event hosted in the Bay Area in recent history and brought in two new memberships.  With Menlo College donating the space and media equipment and The Spirit of India donating the wine for the event, it  was a solid step towards building a strong and active SAJA Bay Area.  For more information on SAJA, visit them online at