We saw new journalism projects launch and existing ones grow, hiring more people (but not always diverse candidates). But we also saw layoffs continue from media outlets including ESPN, the New York Times, Bloomberg, National Geographic, the Boston Globe and the Philadelphia Media Network (the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com).
All this year I’ve received private emails, Facebook messages and DMs on Twitter, afraid of being laid off, asking me what they can do to stay relevant in their newsrooms. You all know my story — print journalist who started her career on a typewriter and adapted to the new media world order.
What’s the secret? Ongoing investment of time and money in your journalism career. If I can continue to invest in my career at at my advanced age, you can too. This will be an ongoing process, and you’re going to have to commit to doing these things in order to progress.
So below are 10 things you can start doing in 2016 to give you the skills you need to keep you competitive in your newsroom. Start easy — just choose one thing, and go from there. Happy New Year — and good luck!
- Create your online portfolio. NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force got some great tips from Boston University Professor (and current board member) Michelle Johnson, here. And Johnson also did a webinar on the same topic as part of DJTF’s annual “New Year, New You” series of webinars, here. Also consider these other platforms.
- Learn to code. There are myriad websites out there that will teach you how to code. CodeAcademy will show you how for free (click here for more free courses). Other coding websites include Code School and Udemy.
- Build your own WordPress sites. I learned about WordPress design classes from Skillcrush from my mentee Marissa Evans. Skillcrush also teaches classes on web design and web development. Can’t decide what to do? Then take Skillcrush’s FREE 10-day boot camp to help you decide.
- Shoot good video on your mobile phone. Check out courses at local community colleges and universities. If that doesn’t work for you, consider taking these courses on Lynda.com.
- Master social media. The Poynter Institute’s News University has a slew of great online classes that can help you create and monitor your social media footprint. Media companies are looking at how active you are on social media when they look at job candidates, so this is important to have.
- Take a beginners class on Photoshop. It’s always good to have extra skills, so why not take this class on Skillshare? And check out the dozens of free and paid classes on this site.
- Step up to data journalism. The Investigative Reporters and Editors has great online training (along with the amazing NICAR conference) that can help you beef up your data skills.
- Get into Google Analytics. You’re learning all these great skills, but you have to show that they’re working. So sign up for Google Analytics, then take these free courses on how to read and use them most effectively. Courses are also offered by Udemy and Lynda.com.
- Give podcasting a try. Every year at the Online News Association conference, the good folks at the “It’s All Journalism” podcast offer a great tutorial on podcasting. You can see it here.
- Boost your stories with SEO. Search Engine Optimization helps boost your stories organically by including key words that sites like Google will push to the top of searches. Mediabistro offers a two-session online webinar to show you how to master this skill.
I hope this has helped. Please feel free to add any other suggestions in the comments below. And I’d love to answer your career questions, so drop me a line at auntbenet AT gmail DOT com.
Benét J. Wilson is the founder and owner of Aviation Queen LLC, a freelance writing, multimedia and consulting firm. She is a freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger who has written for publications and blogs including USA Today, AirwaysNews.com, CrankyFlier.com, ACI-NA Centerlines magazine, Aviation International News, Airport World, the Airline Passenger Experience magazine and the Runway Girl Network. She currently serves on the board of the Online News Association, where she chairs the Diversity Committee. She is also vice president-digital of the National Association of Black Journalists and serves on the board of the Center for Collaborative Journalism.