We’re extending the deadline for our contest

The new deadline for SFJ’s 2019 Excellence-in-Features Awards is Friday, March 15. To enter, go to https://betternewspapercontest.com. More than $15,000 in prize money to be awarded.

SFJ conference 2017 in Kansas City adds college track

sfj17 banner
Contact Barbara Allen
405-744-8369 or 405-385-1345


Students will get one-on-one feedback from hiring editors and that nation’s top writers; registration is just $125 per student.

Kansas City, Missouri — For the first time, the Society of Features Journalism is adding a college journalism track to its annual conference.

In an effort to help students nearing graduation and to network with the future journalists of America, this track will include one-on-one sessions between students and professional writers and editors to provide students with direct feedback on clips, portfolios, resumes and job-seeking/interview skills.

“We are excited to be able to offer this in Kansas City,” said Kathy Lu, assistant managing editor for features at The Kansas City Star and SFJ board president. “We’re always looking for ways to build our relationship with journalism students. With the conference being so centrally located this year, it’s a great opportunity to draw from nearby campuses.”

The conference is Sept. 27-30 in Kansas City, with the college track taking place Friday, Sept. 29 to Saturday, Sept. 30.

Registration for college students is just $125, and includes a ticket to the Kansas City Royals game Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Kauffman Stadium.

Hotels rooms at the conference hotel, the Westin Crown Center, are available for about $160 per night (rate available through Aug. 27).

While Friday will feature fellowship, fun and education, including a session by Lynden Steele, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Saturday will feature individual sessions among students and professionals. Students should plan on bringing several copies of their resumes and clips for on-the-spot markups, and laptops or tablets to show off their portfolios and other digital work.

“We hope this new offering will be beneficial to the students and to newsrooms in the years to come,” Lu said.

For questions or more information, please contact Barbara Allen, Oklahoma State University director of student media, at 405-385-1345 or barbara.allen@okstate.edu.

The Society for Features Journalism promotes the craft of writing and innovation in lifestyle, arts and entertainment journalism. For more information on SFJ, visit featuresjournalism.org.

Digital Tools — making headline magic


Marketing and advertising types are just as obsessed with getting people to absorb their message.

So, here’s some digital tools that marketers use to test headlines.

Coschedule headline analyzer


Click here for link

Type in a headline, and it will rate it based on its ability to connect emotionally, tell your story simply, and what “power words” you can use. It breaks down a headline on its neutrality, and gives you a preview as a Google SEO.

It’s not free, but you can sign up for a trial period.

Advanced Marketing Institute headline analyzer


Click here for link

This is a less sexy version of a headline analyzer. It lets you get your headline parsed by subject.

Mailchimp’s subject line analyzer


Click here for link

You have to be a Mailchimp subscriber to use this, but this can help you hone your subject lines, which could make the difference between a read clicking and not clicking.




Digital tool of the day: Soundbite

The tool: Soundcite, created by KnightLabs.

What is it? A way to smoothly embed sound bites into a narrative

What can it do? Take sound clips, 9-1-1 call excerpts and other recorded material and use it as part of your story. Bring your stories to life with sound.

Use it to illustrate parts of songs; to bring quotes to life in a narrative. To insert audio history.

Find it: https://soundcite.knightlab.com

Here’s how the New York Times used music bites in a great story you the lost history of American female musicians.