Becoming a digital journalist might be your dream career move, and you might often think about the day when you will have achieved this goal. However, before you start out on your route to becoming a digital journalist, there are a few steps that you need to take first. As such, read on to find out about everything that you need to know before becoming a digital journalist.
How Digital Journalists are Changing Journalism
One of the most important pieces of information that you should know when you are intending to become a digital journalist is the role that digital journalists have played in changing journalism for generations to come. Instead of relying solely on print media, digital journalists’ ability to harness social media and online blogging, and magazine platforms has allowed them to reach a wider audience and engage with modern readers. This is important to know for someone coming into the profession as it will help you to grasp your place in the industry and the skills and knowledge that will be beneficial to you. It can also help you to develop your own goals for how you want journalism to carry on changing throughout your tenure as a journalist. As such, you should make sure that you know how much digital journalism has had an impact on the profession.
Before you decide to opt for a career in digital journalism, you must know what your salary will be when you leave college or university, as well as what your potential salary could be further down the line, when you are part of the senior management of a publication. This will then help you to work out whether this is the right profession for you and whether your salary will be in line with your lifestyle and the way that you want to live as a journalist. This will also allow you to avoid ending up with a salary that is below average and beneath what you deserve for the role in question and the responsibilities that you have taken on. As such, you should research your potential salary on websites such as Payscale, or you should speak to career counselors or even those who are already working in the profession to gain insight into what your salary could be. You might also decide that you will find this out by browsing job search websites or contacting employers directly. Whatever you do, you should make sure that you know what you will be paid by your potential employer by the end of your interview with them.
What Positions Are Available
Instead of choosing the first position that you can think of to work toward throughout your career, you should look into the many possible positions that you could take on once you have obtained a digital journalism qualification. There are many more obscure positions that you might not have heard of or thought of before, and these range from copywriters and proofreaders to translators and web content managers. From looking at these positions, you may be able to find one that interests you more than the position that you were working toward in your original career plan. Not only this, but you may be able to get a better idea of the team that will be working around you when you finally achieve your dream of becoming a digital journalist. Once you know the types of roles that are available, you can then look into which one is right for you, which you can do by looking at your skillset and the experience that you already have and then comparing these with the requirements of the roles in question.
The Route That You Should Take
Before you become a digital journalist, you must know the route that you need to take toward success, even before you take a digital journalism qualification. This will help you to make the right decisions, such as whether you should take a certain promotion or opt to return to school, right through your career, including when it comes to your dissertation and the classes that you choose to take. As such, you should lay out the exact steps that you want to take toward your career and the goals that you have in mind, as this will then allow you to constantly work toward them. However, you should not be afraid to remain somewhat flexible as well, as this means that you will be able to grasp any opportunity that interests you, even if this opportunity was not in your original game plan.
The Skills You Need
You should also look carefully into the skills that you will need to succeed as a digital journalist. For instance, you will need great written communication skills, as well as excellent verbal communication skills so that you can interview subjects and pitch your articles effectively. You also need to make sure that you are a great team player if you are planning to work within an office environment and with a team of editors, and you should make sure that you are a good timekeeper and that you are productive and hard-working. You should be able to meet short deadlines without procrastinating too much or dropping the quality of your work. You should also be able to problem solve and think critically, as this will help you to create thoughtful articles about important subjects. Digital journalists also need to be IT proficient, as this will ensure that they can handle their web content without too many disasters. Even if you do not have one of these skills, you should not worry, though, as you will usually be given the chance to hone these skills throughout the course of a digital journalism degree.
You Can Take a Degree Online
If you are set on taking a digital journalism degree but are nervous about moving away from home and giving up your job, you should know that it is now possible to take a digital journalism degree online. Being able to take a digital journalism degree online can be extremely useful for those who have other commitments or who want to study for a career in digital journalism while they maintain their current career, as you will be able to study whenever you have free time, in a manner that suits you. As such, instead of worrying about how opting to take a digital journalism degree might overturn your life as you know it, you should look into the many different colleges and universities that offer digital journalism degrees online, such as St. Bonaventure University.
Your Personal Brand is Important
Digital journalism is not quite like other jobs, though, in the way that you have to market yourself and the skills that you have on offer. To do this, you should focus on developing a personal brand throughout your time in college and beyond. This will then help you to become known in the journalism community and will help you to secure your first journalism job. This is because people are more likely to employ you if they have heard about you and have easy access to a portfolio of your work. As such, you should consider setting up a professional social media account for yourself on LinkedIn and beyond and share links to some of your journalistic work here. You should also make sure that you strip back your writing to reveal the personality behind it, as this will make you memorable and ensure that you stand out from the crowd of people vying to be journalists.
Connections are Important
However, in some ways, the connections that you have are more important than your experience and your knowledge put together. This is because people are more likely to hire you for roles or come to you with their jobs if they have already built up a relationship with you and know that you are trustworthy and produce good work. As such, you should make sure that you are constantly looking around for networking opportunities, even if this is simply attending alumni events at your university or making friends with your classmates. By doing this, you will find that you are constantly in demand in the future and that you will always have the connections that you need, when you need them. To get more connections, you should think about attending events and conferences in the journalism and news industry, as this will help you to seek out the professionals that you most want to build up a relationship with.
As such, instead of simply jumping into becoming a digital journalist, you should instead gather all of the information and knowledge that you need to know before this. From learning about the history of journalism and the most recent developments to finding out what type of qualification you will need to go far, knowledge is a great tool for you to have if you want a long and successful career in the offices of digital journalism.