One area in my journalism degree that I found lacking was marketing yourself online. A lot of my lecturer’s had worked in legacy media, and I could be wrong here but didn’t understand how to leverage an online presence. The world of journalism is rapidly changing technology has changed both the speed and reach of how news reaches an audience. One thing that was repeatedly said to my journalism class was not all of us will be journalist’s, traditional journalism has changed so much, that’s not a bad thing, and I’ll tell you why. Branding! you can create your own brand that people connect with, allowing you to maximize your brand recognition for the best returns, be it getting that job you wanted, to become more employable or if you do it right create your own revenue streams.
How journalism used to be perceived has changed and will continue to change, with that the role of a journalist changed, which is why I do not agree with my journalism lecturers. So don’t allow traditionalist or purest tell you that whatever you are doing is not journalism unless it is actually not journalism. Branding yourself has become, and could be argued a; ways have been since the introduction of by-lines, a central part of being a journalist in the current tech-heavy media landscape. How many times would you read an article if you recognized the name on the by-line, or when was the last time you watched a video because you recognized the presenter, or listened to a podcast because someone you enjoy listening to was on? Brand and name recognition play a big factor in connecting with and audience.
Recognizing that there is still a role for traditional news outlets to continue and thrive, there is ample opportunity for budding journalists to create and niche for themselves. If you are fortunate enough to get yourself an opportunity to work on (I am not saying these are better or worse places for journalism) Vice or Buzzfeed use that time to leverage a following that you can bring over to your own platform. You will notice that a lot of former employees from places like these when they are let go have a following that will cross over to their new platforms. Why I bring that point up is to highlight the opportunity to reverse engineer that process and develop your own following that you can use in conjunction with other media outlets.
As technology is changing so is how people consume content, it is important to recognize that and to capitalize on the opportunities these platforms afford you. Podcasts are another great way to show your skills and actually stand out in your chosen niche market, something that a lot of traditional news outlets are slow to roll out. Most of them are boring and they do not understand the podcast market; when they do it’ll be too late. I do recognize that normally the sports and entertainment departments usually have great podcasts; just not many have transferred well into other sections because they want to appear more serious. I would recommend trying to start up your own podcast, again if you do it with a large media company if they downsize, or go in a different direction, you might be the first to go and then you have to bring that audience over.
Video creation is the next media outlet to leverage, obviously, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram stories have changed how people consume media, it is an area that traditional media are doing well with. The likes of Vox and Buzzfeed wanted to push and monetize from as social media platforms were pushing for more video content. This is another great way to get a following that recognizes your face, which if done right you can create your own brand from. It is important to note that when you work in a media outlet any audience that what you have created is technically not yours, and how you have branded yourself from your style to the aesthetics are more than likely under their copyright and likeness you might find yourself in a bit of a legal quagmire. A great journalist from my class used to have his own YouTube channel talking about a small football league, he managed to leverage that passion into actually covering bigger sporting events.
So I will leave you with this, journalism that used to be known is in decline, in its place are different ways for journalism to be consumed. Journalism was always meant to be about informing readers what their government was up to, that can still happen just in different ways.
So what other ways are there to take advantage traditional and new media? Tell me what you think in the comments.