I belong to a number of private journalism-related Facebook groups that have become a font of wisdom and resources for me. In one of these groups, a journalist asked how to stick with her Plan A — staying in the news business during volatile times.
The journalist received a lot of great advice, and I’ll share a longer version of my response. I’m going to date myself, but I started my career using an electric typewriter. Fax machines were still rare and desk phones and an ink pen and pad were a reporter’s best friend.
But I won’t wax poetic about days gone by. I’ve fully embraced the new tools and technology that help journalists do their jobs better and smarter. But with changing business model for media companies, it may not always be enough just to keep up — you have to continue to learn new skills that will make you marketable if you want to stick with your Plan A and remain in the newsroom.
Those skills include: coding; work with HTML and other computer languages; CMS management; video shooting; audio recording; take photos; data journalism; infographics; SEO; social media (both building, growing and maintaining a following); and tell stories using visuals/infographics, among other things.
Keep up your network by maintaining your LinkedIn profile and joining organizations like the Online News Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors. These groups will also help you keep up your skills and be a resource for that next journalism job. And search places like Facebook and Slack to reach out and connect with like-minded people.
But it’s also important to keep up the basic skills — writing, editing, reporting and storytelling. Because without them, you will need to move to your Plan B — quickly.
Do you have a career question? Is there a topic you want me to cover here? Send them to me at auntbenet AT gmail DOT com. You may see it here in the future.