Robert Niles, computer and journalism guru, offers his advice to students arriving or returning to journalism schools this fall in the Online Journalism Review. However, what is true for students is also true for anyone trying to build a career in the journalism field.
Niles will be recalled as panel member speaking on new media and journalism at the NSNC Ventura Conference. His websites have been honored with awards from the Online News Association, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and the Webby Awards. He has also has worked for several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, and (Denver) Rocky Mountain.
He advises students to be aware that a journalism career begins when someone posts to the internet. He says that anyone who posts online can be a journalist if they post breaking news.
Schools still teach old journalism but today you need more than printed news clips and recommendations, per Niles. A blog with thousands of visitors a day can impress an editor and get you hired. The sooner you build an audience, the better.
In today’s journalism, you need to network with both colleagues and readers via social networks, such as, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You also need to have a personal, professional website to draw attention to your work and to build your personal “brand” as a journalist.
Finally, Niles warns, be careful what you post online as it reflects upon the reputation you are trying to build. Try to think like a journalist at all times and always be on the lookout for stories as they can come from anywhere.