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So you want a job in journalism?



A talk I gave to MA journalism students at Bournemouth University on 23 February 2010 on the skills needed and how to increase the likelihood of gaining employment in journalism. ...

A talk I gave to MA journalism students at Bournemouth University on 23 February 2010 on the skills needed and how to increase the likelihood of gaining employment in journalism.
Full credit to those who helped with suggestions for this presentation is given in the appendix.



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  • Whilst this video is now a bit out of date, for example Facebook now has the equivalent of 400 million users (around the size of the third largest country in the world), the essence of the situation it highlights hasn’t changed.

So you want a job in journalism? Presentation Transcript

  • 1. So you want a job in journalism? Kathryn Corrick, Bournemouth University 23 February 2010
  • 2. Introductions
    • Name: Kathryn Corrick
    • Occupation: Digital Media Consultant
    • Chair of the Online News Association
    • Former Online Manager, New Statesman
    • Where you can find me:
    • http://www.kathryncorrick.co.uk
    • Twitter - @kcorrick
    • LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/kcorrick
    • Plus other places.
  • 3. http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =OhuV_rmf5Mg
  • 4. In your groups…
    • Summarise what this era of globalisation and increased connectivity means for journalists, like yourselves.
  • 5. Here’s one I did earlier…
    • Global not just local competition
    • Large increases in graduates from India and China (who speak English)
    • High pace of change
    • Permanency within jobs potentially quite rare
    • Employment of journalists within newspaper industry decreasing
    • Need new ways of understanding what a career looks like – the ‘ladder’ analogy no longer really applies
  • 6. So what does this mean for me? How am *I* going to get a job?
  • 7. 1. What does the job description look like?
  • 8.
    • Seeking:
    • Adaptable journalist with a strong sense of passion and in-depth knowledge of their subject. Good core research, investigative copy writing/broadcasting/editing, skills with an enthusiasm for learning essential. Comfortable networking and talking to others (including on the phone). Due to fewer sub-editors all applicants are expected to have excellent written English.
    • To survive, a knowledge and awareness of marketing and business would be most useful.
    • Must be able to work as part of a team or on their own. Good photographic, online video/audio recording skills a must, with the ability to put them up online quickly to deadline.
    • An eye for innovation and willingness to experiment without fear of failure, crucial.
    • Applicants without existing online experience and body of work need not apply.
  • 9.
    • PS. An understanding of SEO, social media, website analytics, business models and mobile technologies will also come in handy.
  • 10.
    • PPS. The ability to understand and analyse data and how data is structured also useful to have as a back pocket skill. Cf. MPs Expenses Scandal 2009.
  • 11. Working journalist Richard says:
    • PPPS. Spoken and written fluency with at least one foreign language. In addition to acceptable familiarity with at least one other.
    • Ability to analyse quality of information gained from internet sources.
    • Willingness to work extremely long work days and unsociable times.
    • Strong maths and statistical analysis skills required
  • 12. Or as journalist, Ian Betteridge put’s it:
    • Find out stuff no one else knows
    • Publish it
    • Profit!?!
  • 13. 2. Start now Being a journalist doesn’t start with your first paid job.
  • 14. Where to begin?
    • Find something you (or a group of you) are passionate about
    • Start a blog (WordPress is still pretty much the best)
    • Write regularly
    • Connect with others on that subject
      • Link to them on your blog and in your posts
      • Comment on their sites
      • Comment on community sites connected with your subject.
      • Show your expertise, be open to learning from others.
    • Use Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to promote what you are doing, join in conversations on those networks.
    • Go to events on your topic and on journalism, say hello to people, network (they could be your next employer).
    • Keep going
  • 15. And a quick word about how not to become a spammer on Twitter
    • Don’t use “how to get lots of followers quickly tools”
    • Grow your followers organically
    • Don’t use auto reply/DM –bots
    • Don’t reply to a tweet just because it mentioned your brand – understand the context, reply accordingly
    • Stay in conversation mode, don’t broadcast
  • 16. And if you don’t want to write or if you want to add other content to your site…
  • 17. Photos
    • Flickr.com
    • You can add/upload a photo with text from Flickr straight to your blog … or Twitter
    • Enables you to license your photos more easily using Creative Commons.
    • See http://kathryncorrick.co.uk/2009/07/01/test-post-flickr-to-wordpress/ for instructions if it’s not clear how to do this
  • 18. Adding photos to your site
    • Picapp.com - Enables you to embed high quality news, including some Getty Images, and generic photos onto your site for FREE.
    • See: http://kathryncorrick.co.uk/2009/10/19/social-media-and-the-law-neat-move-by-wordpress/ for instructions.
    • Stock Exchange ( http://www.sxc.hu ) is a good resource for royalty free photographs
    • Flickr.com – Creative Commons photos (access via ‘Advanced Search’). Ensure you credit the photographer, embed rather than downloading, link back to the original.
  • 19. Audio – for direct non-edited reporting
    • http://www.audioboo.fm
    • (iPhone app and number to dial from any phone)
    • http://tweetmic.com
    • (iPhone app)
    • http://www.twithear.com/
    • (call a phone number, record your message, uploaded to Twitter)
  • 20. Edited Music/Audio
    • There are also several services that now enable you to share and embed your music (or audio files) and others’ on your website.
    • Try:
    • http://www.soundcloud.com
    • See:
    • http://kathryncorrick.co.uk/2009/08/18/testing-how-to-embed-soundcloud-files-to-wordpress/ for how to embed into WordPress.
  • 21. Upload and share videos via Twitter
    • YouTube.com – press “Share” underneath the video http:// vidly.com /
    • http://beta.twiddeo.com/
    • http://twitc.com – can be used for photos and other content
    • http://www.tweetube.com/ - YouTube vids, webcam footage, photos
  • 22. You can also share/embed presentations on your website
    • For PowerPoint and PDF’s and similar:
    • http://www.slideshare.com (Enables you to licence your work under Creative Commons)
    • http://www.scribd.com
  • 23. In all this…
    • Make sure you are aware of laws surrounding copyright and use of other’s content. Check out Creative Commons http://www.creativecommons.org.uk
    • Make sure you understand libel laws. If someone asks you to take something down, at this stage, do so
    • For a summary of legislation affecting journalists online see: http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2009/11/20/presentation-law-for-bloggers-and-journalists-uk/
  • 24. Some additional ideas from the BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/2010/02/new_tools_for_new_journalists.html
  • 25. Oh, and have a business card
    • This is really useful and not expensive
    • It shows you are professional and makes it easy for people to find you and get in touch
    • Try http://www.moo.com for creating nice looking cards
  • 26. Finally… make sure your portfolio/CV is online
    • Join LinkedIn (if you haven’t already)
    • Create a website that’s just about you and your work and how people can get in touch.
    • WordPress is good for this, or also try http://www.squarespace.com
    • You may need to learn a few new skills in doing this, but it’ll be worth it
    • Buy a domain name in your name (if it’s available) eg. http://kathryncorrick.co.uk
    • Connect it to your website (it’s fairly simple to do but you may need help for this). WordPress requires you to pay them 15 credits (it’s not much) to do this.
    • Add your LinkedIn URL and website details to your business card
  • 27. What others say: "Watch what you publish on Facebook. Watch your language, images and privacy settings/visibility. If you don't, your prospective future employer probably will" build an online social media presence for your portfolio Focus on your "personal brand" online -LinkedIn and Google results and offline. Get portfolio online, be accessible online, offer to blog/report events for groups, continual CPD Do not use the word ‘perusal’ in your covering email for your CV
  • 28. 3. Be aware of journalistic trends
  • 29.
    • Hyper local
    • Social reporting
    • Live casting
    • Data mining / use and understanding of large data bases/sources
  • 30. 4. Consider other occupations Here are just a few…
  • 31. PR
    • In-house
    • Agencies
    • Note: It’s a lot more than writing press releases.
  • 32. Advertising
    • Copywriting
    • Planning
    • Social media
    • Creative
    • Content production
  • 33. Other communication agencies
    • Digital
    • Brand
    • Direct Mail
    • Events
    • Social Media / PR
    • Cross platform production agencies/houses
  • 34. Marketing
    • Content production
    • Research
    • Social media
    • Account management
  • 35. Research
    • Think tanks
    • Consultancies
    • Researcher within TV/Film
    • Market research
  • 36. Time for questions
  • 37. Thank you! Kathryn Corrick http://www.kathryncorrick.co.uk @kcorrick
  • 38. Appendix
  • 39. With thanks to…
    • Quite a few people made excellent suggestions for this presentation, including:
    • Susie O’Neill, @susioneill
    • Tim Wright, @moongolfer
    • Ian Betteridge, @ianbetteridge
    • Richard Cosgrove, @richardcosgrove
    • Andrew Abboud, @aabboud
    • @KenC41
    • @cyberdoyle
    • Show your appreciation by following them.
  • 40. A few more suggestions of who to follow on Twitter who discuss journalism
    • @ONAUK
    • @journalismnews
    • @mashable
    • @jackschofield
    • @themediaisdying
    • @tweetminster
    • @jonhickman
    • @paul_bradshaw
    • @ruskin147
    • @kevglobal
    • @mediaczar
    • @illico
    • @jeffjarvis
    • @1000words
    • @shanerichmond
    • @brian_condon
    • @kate_day
    • @suw
    • @ushahidi
    • @creativecommons
    • @billt
    • @flowingdata
    • @newsbrooke
    • @charlesarthur
  • 41. Further reading - books
    • Flat Earth News, Nick Davies
    • Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky
    • What would Google do?, Jeff Jarvis
    • Tribes, Seth Godin
    • Free, Chris Anderson
    • Wikinomics, Don Tapscott
    • The rise of the network society, Manuel Castells
    • Communication Power, Manuel Castells
    • We think, Charles Leadbeater