career talk

A couple of quick hits

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Photo by GoodImages via Flickr

I could post these to my delicious feed, but I’m actually trying to be less “automated” in things I blog about these days, so here goes:

Angela Grant provides some valuable insight for future journalists with a recent entry about her search for new employment:

Reporter jobs come up most frequently in my searches, and they’re almost all coming from weekly community newspapers or from the community news initiatives of larger papers like the L.A. Times. I don’t see many reporter positions from major daily newspapers. I almost never see job ads for photojournalists.

Nearly every reporter job description I’ve seen indicates that multimedia skills are either part of the job requirement, or that it’s highly regarded if you can produce multimedia. This indicates to me that there are many more opportunities for multi-skilled journalists who can write, shoot, and produce multimedia all at the same time. It indicates there are fewer opportunities for the multimedia specialist.

Angela is right in this. With the economics of the newspaper industry the way that they are, multiple skill sets are going to be more and more important. While we stress “innovation” in terms of storytelling, the basic element is still the story, still the news. A reporter who can gather that news and present it in a variety of methods will be the one who will land the job of the future.

Mindy McAdams writes about having a strategy for your online work:

Figure out what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Another way to put it: Who is your audience, or who do you want to be in your audience? Who is this for? There’s an old creative-writing maximum that goes something like this: If you write only for yourself, you’re likely to have an audience of one. What Shirky wrote (above) reflects the fact that there are people writing, for example, diary blogs who are really writing only for themselves, or for a very small circle of friends. Some people write travel blogs when they go abroad, with the intention that only friends and family will be in the audience.

So whether you’re writing a blog, or tweeting, or posting Delicious bookmarks (I mark many of my bookmarks personal, or “not shared”), or lifestreaming, give some thought to the audience. If you want a site or venue to be personal, intended for a small circle of people you know, then write accordingly. If you want to cultivate your reputation as an analyst of East Asian economics, then you’re going to be writing about (and linking to) entirely different stuff.

I always encourage students who start blogging (either for class or for the campus news outlet) to try to write about something they are passionate about, or extremely interested in. That’s the only real way you’ll keep up with the blogging grind (and it does become a grind sometimes). The audience is the other side of that equation. If you’re passionate about something, chances are there are other people who are passionate about it too. And they might not all be on your campus. Tapping into that network of passion will keep your blogging going too.