Job Tips from an Old Guy in New Media

This is an important read not just for our recent graduates but for everyone of our students – Steve Buttry has posted his tips for finding a journalism job in the digital world.

I’ve made some semi-random comments about similar thoughts in the past, but that’s one of the best collections of them I’ve seen. My Advanced Photojournalism students this fall will have a semester-long assignment to build their digital persona because waiting until graduation week is too late – it needs to start now. (And, depending on how it goes in the fall, my Introduction to Photojournalism students may be required to do it in the spring.)

What will that entail? I’m going to start simple with a few key things:

  • A Digital Portfolio: Whether it’s a self-hosted web site or a CMS driven, the students will be required to post what they’re working on on a regular basis as well as developing an area of expertise in something. I’m not going to be too concerned about what that area is, but it should be something you can be an expert in – maybe food, sports, environmental issues or local politics (it is an election year, after all).
  • A Social Media Marketing Campaign: This would most likely be driven by Twitter, perhaps Facebook, probably both. But they will need to drive traffic to their web site and start conversations about their topic of choice.

It may go further than that, haven’t decided yet. But the successful folks I keep reading about are the ones who are way outside of our traditional journalism comfort zone. Time to make my students more uncomfortable.

Mark E. Johnson

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