Online journalism is defined as the reporting of facts when produced and distributed via the Internet (source: Wikipedia.org). Journalism is a very demanding profession and is adopted by millions world wide. With the arrival of internet tools the job has become relatively easy especially in terms of the reporting perspective. But as it stands, there is no profession which doesn’t require the right aptitude, suitability for the job performed and some hard and soft skills.
Like all other professionals, online journalism is also a job that requires a considerable amount of skills and the right education to go with it. Let’s discuss some skills and strengths that one requires to become an online journalist.
A bachelor’s degree in Mass communication or Journalism is a pre requisite for most of the advertised online journalist jobs. Most of the jobs also require you to have a language proficiency certificate. Being multi-lingual produces more chances for you to acquire a job that may require you to go through reports or surveys that contain information in a foreign language.
An online journalist needs to have a great writing power. He has the ability to expand or shrink the word count as required. A strong vocabulary with a firm grip on the word usage is necessary. A good writer is well aware of the audience’s psyche. Report writing skills are pivotal in the field of journalism.
A journalist needs to be passionate about writing. You could be facing late night work and pay rates will be low initially. To get into any professional life you need to have strong work ethics. Try to get an internship with a newspaper and get involved in the work environment at journalism offices. See how they perform their routine work. Have a chat with professionals related to your areas of interest. All this can have a remarkable effect on your growth as a professional journalist.
Only writing skills aren’t enough for you to become a good online journalist. Today we see that websites and online news portals are loaded with a variety of photos, videos and slide shows which require knowledge of a certain software. For you to gain proficiency as an online journalist you need to have knowledge of photo and video editing tools. These tools are very handy when it comes to making the content rich. Fair knowledge in web programming is also beneficial.
Volunteer to Work
At the beginning of the career, you need to be flexible enough to work free of cost. Not only will you get valuable experience but also your work will get the much needed exposure. The more people read your views and reports, the more feedback you get to improve your skills. Some piece of a brilliant write up will catch the attention of a prospective employer.
Get Involved Socially
Social media is a perfect platform for budding online journalists to start their career from. They can get information to write on from their colleagues and friends. Similarly, it will not be hard for you to gain an initial exposure by sharing your views with people you know.
The career of an online journalist is mostly comprised of freelance work rather than contract or permanent jobs. As an online worker you will have the flexibility of working from the comfort of your home but you will need to find the means for getting the work. The best way to gain exposure and get work is to get a personal website and a portfolio running. Reach out to the editors of different journals and magazines with your best work and see how fruitful your efforts are.
Like all other online jobs online journalism can also be a challenging job. You may need some time and patience and a lot of effort initially but once you start making contacts and gaining exposure to your work, you will see a remarkable growth in your field of work.
If you have any other tips on online journalism to share, do not hesitate to do so in the comments section below.
All the best!