It’s been a rocky year for journalists. I, like thousands of others, was made redundant from my staff post and it seems the cull is far from over. But, at risk of sounding too negative at this time of festive bonhomie, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the future of the industry and some anecdotes from 2009:
The future is online
After being made redundant I managed to get regular shifts on a national newspaper’s website. For a while I saw it as a stepping stone onto the paper, where I’d be rolling with the big boys.
Having worked on the website for six months, I now realise that the future really is online. Yesterday I saw a social affairs story appear in the paper that I’d written a whole two days earlier for the website. Print can no longer compete with the internet for news. The website is still looked down upon as the paper’s poorer cousin, but in five years’ time it will be king.
Write a blog
Sounds obvious coming from a blogger, but it’s a great way to practice writing for the web. If you learn about dealing with an interactive audience, SEO, linking, etc now, you’ll be streets ahead when everything goes digital.
Learn a language
An editor recently told me to learn a language. If you have a GCSE or A-level, it’s worth topping it up with a business language class. The French Institute offers reasonably priced classes and you can chose the evening you go in.
Keep in touch and be patient
It’s worth reminding your contacts every few months that you’re still there and still looking for work. Don’t be put off by radio silence from an editor – if they don’t immediately respond to an email or phone call, it’s not personal. I recently got a reply from an editor I’d emailed months ago. He’s asked me to call him in the new year regarding writing opportunities. Patience with a strong dose of persistence does pay off.
Wishing everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This is the eigth post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.
You can also read posts by our previous ‘Redundant Journalist’ blogger at this link.