Becoming a Journalist in the age of New Media
With newspaper circulation seeing a rapid decline becoming a journalist has been far from many young professional’s goals. The Internet has brought a world of new media that the printed media was blind-sided by. So what does the future of new media hold for journalists?
Gone are the days when we gathered around the television and watched the evening news. Waking up to a cup of coffee and retrieving the newspaper from the front lawn is a thing of the past for many people. This is the day and age of 24-7 instant news and information.
Becoming a Journalist Today Means Being Ready to Change
The fundamentals of journalism are still the same. News still means: who, what, where, when, and how. But up-and-coming journalists now know that there is a good chance they will be writing for publication on the Internet.
We’ve seen many changes in the past 10 years; what the next 10 or 20 years will bring will be determined by the next generation of little Bill Gates “wannabes”. Becoming a journalist today means being able to adapt quickly to the world of new media.
Colleges and Universities must Adapt to the New Journalist
Writing for the Internet is quite different than writing for a newspaper, magazine, or television. People will search online to find information and if you don’t have important keywords in your copy, you can just about forget about being found by web surfers.
It amazes me that most colleges and universities today are not training future journalists how to write specifically for the Internet. Those that understand how to write for the Internet will be the true successes. Whether working for a web publication or becoming an online entrepreneur, there is much to learn about this new style of writing
Headlines and Headings
Headlines have always been important but now, more than ever, your headlines had better grab the attention of web surfers! Once you get them to your web page, your copy needs to be easy to read with short paragraphs and headings that make the reader want more. We’ve all become more inpatient and will quickly look elsewhere for better information.
Wanting to Become a Journalist—with a Passion
As with any other profession, those that succeed are the ones who love what they do. These are the people that eat and sleep their dream of being a successful journalist. If you don’t have the passion you might as well hang it up now. Doing what you love with a true talent will get you to the top before anything else.
You have to pay your dues and be ready to work for peanuts at first. This is not just a job. It will become your life. Be ready to face frustration and rejection. But you will always remember how it feels when you have completed an over-the-top article that goes viral. Nothing better!
Specialize and Write about what You Know and Love
If you are a sports nut, fashion diva, or love decorating, you will find more success if you write about those things. Sure you might have to earn your keep by writing about things like the new laundromat grand opening to get your feet wet and learn the basics. But keep your eye on your goal.
In your spare time, you can write for your own blog about the areas that you love the most. This is a fantastic way to keep up your knowledge and skills and possibly even earn a little extra money on the side.