What do engineering, psychology, and finance students have in common? Job security. The same cannot be said for journalists. For fun, tell people you are pursuing a journalism degree and watch in amusement as their faces twist and turn into confusion and disbelief before your very eyes!
It is no news (pun intended) that journalism is a risky business to be in nowadays. While it may not be dead, it is in a period of mass transition. The transition being a shift from print and broadcasting to online and data journalism – and what is the most popular medium of online journalism? Blogging.
According to an article by Matt Wells, “live blogging has rapidly become the dominant form for breaking news online.” He credits this to its links with Twitter, Facebook, pictures, videos, and audience interactions. “Rather than foretelling the death of journalism, the live blog is surely the embodiment of its future” says Wells. So why not embrace it?
In an article by Martin Bryant, The Guardian technology and media reporter Josh Halliday admits that “The most important thing I did at university, including my degree, was to blog and get online. That’s what got me the job.” In the same article, Paul Bradshaw, senior lecturer in online journalism and magazines at Birmingham City University’s School of Media in the UK (whew!), warns that “students entering the marketplace who have never run their own news website are at an increasing disadvantage.”
More and more, journalism programs are emphasizing online journalism and blogging. Sue Greenwood, senior lecturer in web-based and entrepreneurial journalism at Staffordshire University, encourages blogging because it gets students “to think about their work in relationship to the audience” and to discover what will attract and build that audience.
It is clear that blogging has had quite a large impact on the media. In his article, Paul Bradshaw asked journalists how much blogging had changed their work. More than half of blogging journalists said that their work had either “enormously” or “completely” transformed, as seen in the chart below.
from the article When Journalists Blog: How It Changes What They Do by Paul Bradshaw
“The students who are doing data journalism and visualisation are standing out” says Bradshaw. Budding journalists, this is a call to action! Get online and start spilling your thoughts and ideas. Experiencing writer’s block? Check out these blogs for inspiration: Online Journalism Blog, The Independent Journalist, VideoJournalism: Thinking Visually – and here is a parody of what not to do: The Anti-Social Media.