I try to encourage our level 1 journalism students to blog. This is important for many reasons, not least it acts as a showcase for their journalistic masterpieces which can be viewed by potential employers. Unfortunately, this advice often falls on deaf ears. And blogging should never be forced on anyone!
But Robert Clarke, a first year student and games journalist, heard my cry and set up In Solent 2008. It provides a 'student-eye' account of the BA Journalism course. It's well-written and shows signs of some great reflection on learning. It's well worth a read.
Getting a job in MSM
As this blog has mentioned before, entrepreneurial students should look to set up their own news sites and blogs. Most students will seek work in MSM (mainstream media) when they leave university, but I hope some will consider a more interesting direction and try setting up their own media brands.
I'm not the only person to observe that individual journalist's names are now seen as 'multimedia brands'. This has been going on in the US for many years – CNN has Larry King and Anderson Cooper 360. Fox News and MSNBC has their own lot. These big hitters are promoted on billboards, websites and in supermarket tabloids up-and-down the country.
A journalist's name = 'multimedia brands'
In the UK, Sky News promotes the heck out of its on-screen talent. But the BBC has traditionally kept its news 'talent' in their place. No Jeremy Paxman 360. No Big Crunch Live
with 'housewives favourite', Robert Peston (BBC business editor). On-screen talent should never become 'bigger' than the TV or radio channels they work for. (The Andrew Marr Show is probably the exception). These days, the BBC promotes some blogs. Robert Peston has his BBC blog promoted on-air – bbc.co.uk/robertpeston.
A massive hit with British housewives, it has become so popular it has
been blamed for causing City jitters.
Of course the Sky News approach is right and the BBC is increasingly looking out of touch in this platform world where cross marketing is king. Bearing in mind that many journalists spend much of their time a) freelancing and b) writing across media platforms – it makes sense that they will seek to promote themselves to get new contracts and win audiences.
And any new student who is looking to make a name for themselves needs to be producing work of a consistently high standard and they must get it online. They don't need an expensive agent, but they should indulge in some not-so-shameless online marketing. A blog, a LinkedIn page, a personal website, and postings to other respected blogs should do the trick to get any budding journalist listed on Google. It also seems pretty essential to register your name as a .com. (See Ways to Establish an Internet Identity).
If you have a really common name, as I do, then you may want to adopt a pen name (it helps with the Google rankings). It's not difficult, but it does seem that only the really entrepreneurial journalism students are getting the message.