8 Overlooked but vital skills required for online journalism

Written by  //  May 9, 2014  //  JOURNALISM  //  No comments

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So you’ve decided that you want to embark on a career in the exciting world of online journalism. You’ve read ‘Digital Journalism for Dummies’, started you own blog and even completed an online writing course or two. But now it’s time to get serious.

Here’s a list of ‘less important’, yet crucial skills that might just make you a digital superstar…

1. Be an adrenaline junkie

Learn to love the adrenaline that comes with super-tight deadlines. This is an arena where articles are written in real time and you are literally competing with the entire world. Be the first to submit.  Offer the latest news and freshest content. Tonight’s news will be stale by morning… don’t miss your window.

2. Look for unusual sources

That guy with the blue mohawk and piercings in places that makes you wonder about the mechanics of actually getting a piercing there, the crazy bird lady, the local grocer that just won’t stop talking…. basically anybody your mother warned you to stay away from. This is exactly who you need to be talking to and where the good stories are hiding.

3. Coffee will give you superpowers

If you think that coffee is an acquired taste… acquire it. This is the modern day super drug with side effects including being alert, focused and submitting that all important piece on time (before anyone else). Long nights and even longer days are a reality and the next big scoop isn’t going to wait for you to get your beauty sleep.

4. Buy a nice pair of sunglasses

This ties in nicely with the above. Dark circles caused by sleep deprivation, nervous eye twitches and nodding off for ‘just a minute’ can all be effectively concealed with a pair of nice big shades. This should be an essential component of your writer’s toolbox.

5. You don’t need a degree

Be a self-starter. Stop wasting time; grab the nearest keyboard and start writing. According to the 2013 Poynter NewsU Survey, in today’s digital age potential employers are no longer fussed about whether or not you’ve had any formal training, as long as you submit accurate, quality copy. That’s what they do care about.

6. Submit, submit, submit

Just because the medium is digital does not mean that you will not face rejection. Dust yourself off, spell-check once more and keep submitting. You have the entire world as your potential audience. Somewhere out there, someone will want to read about ‘The role of inchworms in loose soil fertilisation’. It might fill up your entire sent items folder before you reach them, but never give up.

7. Learn to program

It’s the age of the geek, baby, and digital journalism is no exception. Journalists who are able to combine writing with programming might just have the competitive edge when it comes to the cyber world.

8. Make lots of friends

Actively manage your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts. This is a great way to reach diverse and niche markets as well as promote your writing.

About the Author

Paula PioPaula Pio is a freelance journalist specializing in all things strange and intriguing. She also likes to write short stories and poetry.

When she isn’t writing she is travelling or making lists of places she still wants to travel to. Currently Paula is working as a data analyst at a large auditing firm.

 

 

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