Menu
Browse > Home /

Can journalism students blog their way into a job?

October 27th, 2010 | 12 Comments | Posted by in Events, Jobs

Having a job in mainstream media before the age of 25 is fanciful thinking for many aspiring journalists, but having a blog could help turn those dreams into a reality.

Just ask young journalists Josh Halliday of the Guardian, Dave Lee of the BBC and Conrad Quilty-Harper of the Telegraph, all of whom credit their blogs as being fundamental to their success.

Speaking at an event at City University London last night, Halliday, a technology and media reporter and Sunderland University graduate, said: “The most important thing I did at university, including my degree, was to blog and get online. That’s what got me the job.”

Lee, who also started blogging while doing his undergraduate degree at Lincoln University, echoed Halliday saying: “I credit everything I’ve got to my blog at university.

“There is no possible way that I would have been able to go into the BBC newsroom on the basis of my degree, or the basis of my freelance cuttings or the basis of my student newspaper. ”

While Quilty-Harper, a data mapping journalist, said having a good blog and presence on Twitter, which he could readily show to potential employers, was what got him his job after he finished his postgraduate degree at City University London.

The three online trailblazers yesterday revealed their experiences of how to “blog your way into a job”:

Build a brand

Using your blog to promote yourself correctly is essential. Halliday stressed the importance of “being yourself” and marketing yourself in a way that is “likable”. While Lee highlighted that you never know what part of your branding will be the most fruitful, so you must do it all.

Conversing, linking and networking
Linked to the above is the idea that you must be in active dialogue with as many people as possible to build a dedicated following. Part of this involves linking to people who are blogging about similar topics to you, to create a mutually beneficial relationship. However, do not forget that, as Halliday highlighted, it’s a “two-way street”. So don’t just push yourself, relationships – especially ones with journalists already in the industry – should develop organically. Use the net’s networks  appropriately.

Be patient

You won’t go from 20 to 5,000 twitter followers overnight. Cultivating a twitter following and developing a community takes time, so don’t get too caught up on this. Make content the driving force behind your website or blog and the community will come.

Find a niche
With an increasing amount of people entering the blogosphere standing out is harder than ever before, but what could really help is finding a topic that nobody else or very few people are writing about. Lee blogged about his experiences of being a student in the developing online media using himself as a “case study”; Halliday created a hyperlocal blog about Sunderland; and Quilty-Harper had a blog about gadgets and technology. All three were unanimously behind blogs having a niche, as Halliday highlighted “journalists are paid to cover a single beat, so just do that”.

Advertising
Increasing traffic to your site is one of the most difficult elements of blogging, but all three panellists deplored the idea of buying advertising space to this end declaring it a waste of money. Instead they advocated networking and conversing with the right people as the means by which to increase your popularity.

Rajvir Rai is a postgraduate journalism student at City University London. He can found on Twitter @R_Rai.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

dot.Rory: Tips from Rory Cellan-Jones and Josh Halliday on online tools for reporting

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and Sunderland University journalism student Josh Halliday offer some great tips and suggestions of tools to use for reporting online. There’s a strong focus on tools to help make your job as a journalist easier – whether that’s saving battery power on your laptop or mobile when filing a report or how to send large image files back to the newsroom from the field.

Worth a read by budding journalists and seasoned professionals alike.

Full post at this link…

Tags: ,

Similar posts:

The new Student Publication Association needs to converse with existing communities

August 7th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Training

Josh Halliday, an undergraduate journalism student at the University of Sunderland and InJournalism editor, takes a look at a new student organisation. A version of this post originally appeared on his blog. A disclosure: he launched Euro CollegeJourn, an online student community, earlier this year.

The UK-centric Student Publication Association will be a ‘national representative body’ for student publications ‘which supports student publications and their contributors by offering guidance, knowledge sharing, links in to the industry and become a forum for all involved,’ according to notes from a preliminary meeting last week, which I have permission to quote from.

These early developments suggest that online resources will be central to the SPA (or SJA according to their website.) Such online resources will seek to provide information and resources regarding good practice and legal issues.

Member publications will have the option to upload their content to the SPA website allowing for ‘affiliated publications’ and industry experts to see their work and, presumably, offer feedback and advice.

There is also plans for an ‘alumni association’ to allow for ‘strong industry contacts to be sustained and have a base of knowledge and experience which affiliated member publications can use to their advantage’.

Regarding the set-up, there will be nine regional representatives whose job it is to report back to a central body, enabling the Association to make ‘informed decisions about how it should operate and run itself’. The regions represented are: London and East Anglia, South East England, South West England, the Midlands, North East England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Now my take. Any organisation which acts as a forum for student journalists and student journalism can only be a good thing.

I think the SPA would do well to get in touch with, and be inspired by, CoPress in the US. CoPress are, in their own words, an ‘organization dedicated to providing college news outlets with the technical resources and support network they need to innovate online’.

Look at what they’ve done with a wiki, a forum, published conference calls, engagement with the online community through social media; all ‘best practice’ essentials, in my opinion.

I admit, when I received the email from the SPA, it concerned me that it was the first I’d heard of their plans.

It would have been good to see mention of it on Tomorrows’ News, Tomorrow’s Journalists, a purpose-built forum for student journalists.

Similarly, with Euro CollegeJourn. Even though my project is currently on a summer hiatus it would have been good to see Association members involved with it.

In the hope the SPA will join the existing and evolving online conversation. I’ve reserved a Twitter account especially for them. It’s @StudentJournUK – take it, it’s yours.

Nonetheless, I wish the Association every luck. What better time can there be for meaningful collaborative work between journalism students?

What would you like to see a representative body for student journalists and student publications do? How could they help you out? Leave a comment below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Similar posts:

© Mousetrap Media Ltd. Theme: modified version of Statement