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Max Garrone, senior news producer at SFGate

Max Garrone, senior news producer at SFGate

I couldn’t think of a more relevant speaker for our Intro to Online Journalism class than Max Garrone, senior news producer at SFGate.com, the Bay Area’s leading news site. I’ve worked with Max on a number of projects and he has always impressed me with his knowledge of the online sphere and collaborative nature.

During his hour with us, he shared a number of things that the casual SFGate reader may not know, including:

  • The typical weekday reader is looking at the site while at work; peak times are 7-9 a.m. and 12-2 p.m.
  • The fact that the home page features links to stories by “competitors” is a significant change in strategy that occurred this year.
  • There’s a reason “Daily Dish” and “Day in Pictures” are featured “above the fold” on the site — they’re consistently the most popular features, which tells us something about the audience.
Typical times when traffic peaks at SFGate

Typical times when traffic peaks at SFGate

Max also spoke about the opportunities for aspiring journalists; in particular, he’s interested in photo features (and two students expressed interest in pursuing this). As for writers, he suggested trying to become a contributor to an established blog/hyper local site as a way to get some experience. Of course, a personal blog, if done well, can also help open doors.

When it comes to applying for a job, he also touched on the importance of what some call the invisible resume. That means making a great impression on teachers, anyone you have worked with professionally, even fellow classmates.

If students aren’t already in that mode, they need to flip that switch now. Or as I put it during class, “The tryout began yesterday.”

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