By Samantha Hautea and Kirsten O’Brien, 2015-2016 Flip the Media Editors
It’s been a great year for Flip the Media.
We’ve covered conventions spanning from the grand tech-fest of South by Southwest to the Seattle Interactive Conference in our own backyard. We’ve featured articles that put the spotlight on local entrepreneurs like Levi Seitz of Blackbelt Mastering to international luminaries like Kentaro Toyama.
Over the last year, we’ve put up thousands of words and hundreds of pictures on the Flip the Media, and we’re proud to be a part of something that represents the Comm Lead community. But none of what we’ve published would be possible without the work of our talented, hard-working contributors. As the school year comes to a close, a new cohort will prepare to take their first steps towards earning a Comm Lead degree. It’s an exciting time, but it also means it’s time for us to pass on our responsibilities.
“Nothing I’ve done, academically or professionally, helped build my writing and editing chops like working with a diverse community of storytellers every week, each of whom brings unique talents to Flip. Spending a year guiding stories to publication and learning from your brilliant contributors in the process is a fantastic opportunity to grow your skills, and an unparalleled Comm Lead experience.” — Fritz Kessler, 2014-2015 Flip Editor
Applications for the editor positions are due to Flip advisor Alex Stonehill (email@example.com) by midnight on Friday, May 6. See here for the full application requirements.
We wanted to take a minute to reflect on what we’ve gained from our experience at Flip. In this post, you’ll hear from us, some current contributors, and even previous editors as we highlight some of our favorite contributions this year.
By sharing reasons we think contributing to Flip is so rewarding, we hope to encourage those who have not yet contributed to give it a shot.
Reason no. 1: It helps you gain confidence in your voice and sharpen your skills.
Not everyone who writes for Flip comes from a journalism background or is a trained writer. In fact, you don’t need to have any writing experience — or speak English as your first language — in order to be a contributor!
Flip is first and foremost a tool for students. It’s a place for Comm Leaders to explore topics they’re interested in, practice their writing and editing skills, or attend industry conferences and events. In fact, newbies are welcome and encouraged to contribute to Flip, since it’s a great way to get feedback.
“[Contributing to Flip the Media] is not that intimidating! You can come up with your own topics and time frame and there’re people who will support you along the way.” – Meena Tang, Cohort 15
With a little tweaking, class assignments and projects can also make for great Flip pieces, which cuts down on having to write and research an original piece from scratch. Even experiences that don’t tie directly to Comm Lead can make for great posts; for example, take this post by Cohort 14 student Suzi Mirchel on how she learned to take criticism gracefully during the often painful job-searching process. Or Cohort 15 student Ashley Johnson’s piece on homelessness in Seattle.
And if you really aren’t a writer, that’s okay! Video, photo and social media contributions are all welcome. If you’ve created something you want to share — or if you want help polishing it up — Flip is the perfect outlet.
Reason no. 2: You become part of a community.
As the official publication of the Comm Lead program, you’re not just writing articles: you’re contributing to a valuable community resource. And hopefully, you’re making friends along the way.
Flip is a great place to meet like-minded students interested in writing, editing, storytelling, social media management and more, and some of the friendships formed through Flip last long after students don caps and gowns on graduation day.
We asked Hanns-Peter Nagel, 2014-2015 Flip editor and CommLead Cohort 12 alumni, about what was most memorable about his experiences with Flip.
“What I enjoyed most and what Flip is set up for is the experimentation,” he said. “Always wanted to make an infographic? Try it on Flip. Couldn’t quite come up with a reason to interview that person you always wanted to talk to? Flip gives you one. Editing and writing for Flip is definitely work but it’s work with a lot of creative freedom and some great people.”
Reason no. 3: It gives you unique opportunities to learn from the best.
One huge draw of contributing to Flip is the access it grants you to attend conferences, workshops and speaker events. With your press pass in hand and Flip behind you, you’re free to attend the conference of your dreams. This also means you get access to the most influential speakers, thought-leaders and communicators in the field.
In the past we’ve sent contributors to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Houston, Tex., the Tableau Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. and even the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Contributors routinely name these opportunities as highlights of their Flip experience, and sometimes of their Comm Lead experience overall.
Reason no. 4: You can use your contributions to Flip in your resume or portfolio.
When you write for Flip, you’re doing real work. Your articles could be read by your peers, professors, other students in the Communication Department and a growing network of Pacific Northwest-area professionals. You can’t place a value on having your own byline, and your Flip pieces make for great work samples to show future employers, submit for internship or scholarship applications or to build your own personal writing portfolio.
In some cases, it can even land you a job. Danny Gross, cohort 15, has written a number of stories for Flip this year, touching on topics as varied as proposed legislation that would allow ride-share drivers to unionize to profiling a local entrepreneur with a rare piece of machinery. His published pieces were enough to land him an internship with Washington STEM, where he builds the storytelling strategy around what Washington schools are doing to provoke student interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
Reason no. 5: It’s fun!
If you’ve come this far, hopefully you’ve picked up on one key aspect of contributing to Flip: it’s fun! Flip is a supportive community that allows you to explore your own personal interests, attend cutting-edge industry events, practice your writing skills and maybe even land a new job or internship.
Its a place to experiment and stretch your wings. Whether you’re an international student who’s never written a journalistic article before or an experienced marketing guru, every contribution to Flip adds to our collective knowledge as a community of communication leaders.
“Don’t be afraid to try new storytelling approaches. Mix it up with video, audio, photography and social. Cook up a new series. Do a data viz or infographic. Embed a 30-second video to add a “you are there” sense, rather than just summarizing with text. Create a photo gallery. Embed tweets. Have fun!” – Connie Rock, 2014-2015 Flip Editor
Flip the Media is not just the official publication of the Communication Leadership program — it’s a valuable tool that can greatly enhance your graduate school experience.
So, have we convinced you yet? Flip accepts pitches or stories at any time, but your shot at next year’s editorship ends at midnight on Friday, May 6. Email Alex Stonehill (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your applications materials. See here for the full application requirements.