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Career GPS

A weekly conversation about following your passions and your paycheck.

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Newsdesk and Spot.us are organizations intent on giving journalists financial support for in-depth reporting as mainstream media continues to shrink. They are seeking proposals for their "Los Angeles Toxic Tour," stories that will be told in text and multimedia to highlight environmental concerns in this sprawling city.

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It's the kind of thing that makes traditionalists in journalism cringe, and convinces them that technology will ruin the integrity of news. SEO is the tech acronym for "search engine optimization," ways to design websites and content that will rank highly in search results. What many journalists might not realize is that the techniques of SEO are actually not that far off from the fundamentals of hard news.

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Peggy Girshman, executive editor for online at Kaiser Health News (KHN), is hiring. This week, she pulls back the curtain for Career GPS readers and explains what she is looking for in a job applicant and shares her personal do's and don'ts for journalism résumés.

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Wendy Johnson spent five years as a reporter at newspapers in Cape Cod and then on Capitol Hill before taking the leap to the B2B (business-to-business) media world.

"It's something that I fell into accidentally," Johnson says. But she discovered that writing about one industry for a new audience of executives and others in healthcare was both "really interesting" and viable. "I could see that there was a career track here."

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For writers of most any stripe, getting the gig is only half the battle. Once you've finished your masterpiece, be it an investigative report or a quick blog post, how do you cut through the vast Internet -- Google has already indexed more than one trillion pages -- to find the readers for whom you have worked so hard?

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Social media, blogs and instantaneous online distribution has revolutionized news. The reach of social media is comparable to mainstream media -- in the billions -- "but that's where the similarities end," said attorney Wendy Heimann-Nunes, who moderated an event in Hollywood today about intellectual property, part of the multi-city virtual conference Social Media Week. On the Internet, content can be moved and shared and copied with ease.

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Amy Wallace recently wrote about the minefield surrounding her reporting on vaccines for ReportingonHealth. Two months after her November 2009 Wired cover story "An Epidemic of Fear: One Man's Battle Against the Anti-vaccine Movement" was published, she was sued. Though the laws

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These days, when we talk about careers in journalism, the focus is often on the razzle dazzle, the tricks and technology and the ups and downs of the industry. This week at CareerGPS, I'm getting back to basics. A student asked me recently, how do I make a career as a writer? I thought a

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The annual convention of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) early in August was filled from top to bottom with practical and career-oriented sessions. For me, one of the most useful was off the official books. By Twitter and email, AAJA Texas chapter president Iris Kuo organized a lunchtime get-together for freelancers in the hotel lobby.

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As always, you can find job, internship, awards and fellowship opportunities at the end of this post.

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Do you have a great idea for a potentially impactful reporting project on a health challenge in California?  Our 2020 Impact Fund can provide financial support and six months of mentoring.

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