Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Music Journalism Students Get Advice From The Best By Jenay Ross and Susan Ewing

As part of GRAMMY Camp® each track gets to meet with professionals working in their fields. Music Journalism so far has met with Emmy-nominated new media maven Shira Lazar, who has her own "On The Scene" column for CBS.com and has contributed to CNN and Fox News Channel, among others, and rock photographer Kristin Burns.

Kristin Burns walked into our music journalism track, clad in all black, except for her bright red heart-shaped sunglasses casually placed on top of her head. We were lucky enough to sit and listen to her speak about her life as a music photographer.

Burns' interest in photography began in middle school and high school when she took photos every day. Then she attended and graduated from Art Center College of Design. “Art school kicks your butt,” she said laughing, “but it really prepares you.” At ACCD, she initially focused on art history and then realized photography was her calling. “I’m obsessed with photography,” she said. When asked about why she focuses on music photography, she described music as something that fuels, energizes, and calms her. “I love the way it makes me feel,” she expressed.

After graduation, she became really stressed about burdensome loans and bills, which made her work harder, or in her words, “hustle” more. “It’s hard to make a living as an artist,” said Burns. Her tips for staying on top of everything included being diverse, professional, open minded, and not like anyone else. Networking and “any tiny, tiny connection can help” with expanding a person’s opportunities for work also.

She talked a lot about how gaining trust from people through mutual contacts and friends is a great skill to have. Burns said it has been “tricky” earning trust from the artists she’s worked with, such as Billy Corgan and the rest of her long client list. When she had photos of Corgan and Jessica Simpson that suggested they were dating, she turned away the insane amount of money people were willing to pay for her photos. “My friendship with Billy is worth a million dollars,” she explained. Finding a balance between business and friendship is essential.

Shira Lazar reported to us how blogging and broadcasting works. She stated it was always great to start where you can and work your way to bigger things, mentioning internships she did herself in college at MTV and how she always made herself helpful and available to her employers. Lazar mentioned some of her greater experiences such as hosting the 72-hour live ustream special on GRAMMY.com during GRAMMY® week, and being the first one to get an interview with the curent You Tube hit, the "Double Rainbow Man."

One of Lazar’s main points was to take advantage of getting interns and your name out there while you’re still a student because people will actually listen to you and respect your go-getter attitude. She explained to us that there will always be a low point in whatever you do but don’t give up because of it because it will always lead to something higher. She also spoke to us about how being able to do it all will really help in your success in the journalism world because companies are not only looking for good writers, they want someone who could write, interview and film in order to get the story out quicker and get it more exposure in the public. It’s a diverse world of journalism and Shira Lazar has touched on just about every aspect of it. She was a big eye opener and left us pondering on what else we should explore as journalists.

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