There are many facets to journalism, but your name and reputation is key. However, raising your profile is becoming increasingly difficult with an accumulating number of bloggers, the media and businesses all desperate to make their voices heard. That’s why we’ve made things simple. Journalistic has done away with overcrowded inboxes, tedious office phones and has instead decided to bridge the gap between those seeking quality content for their sites, blogs and other such forms of media with those who can create innovative material.
Young journalists who produce high-quality articles may find it difficult to circulate their work owing to the fact that they have yet to establish their profile. Many businesses and media figures are slow to trust unknown journalists due to the amount of spam emails and false stories they receive. Consequently, young journalists need to gain as much experience with reputable organisations in order to build on their portfolio. The fact that experience is valued in this profession, reflects in the 2015 Social Journalism Study, age related statistics which showed that there are more journalists aged 28-45 and 46-45 years of age than younger journalists aged 18-27 years old.
The benefits are twofold; newspapers and businesses are now able to directly source unique, quality material for their sites, and rising journalists, who have yet to experience the status of a regular columnist for a news site such as the BBC, can gain further exposure.
The art of story-telling is one that has been learnt and refined by many over the centuries. Whether fact or fiction; the content for your piece is essentially just that. In order to stand apart from the millions of others who flood the inboxes of businesses, newspapers and blogging sites, you must firstly present as a trusted contact and a knowledgeable point of reference. To achieve this, you must offer truthful content that is backed by fact. Bodies such as ONS, Gov.uk and domains ending in .org, .edu or .gov, are seen as reputable sources to source statistical information from. False stories are easily identified and you, as the author, may risk tarnishing your name and reputation. Keeping your name clean and reputable means that as your work becomes better known, your name will become synonymous with honesty and legitimacy and will therefore be sought out.
Establishing your contacts in the world of journalism is vital. The most glorious muscle car in the world cannot run without fuel. Similarly, journalists need to create the right and influential contacts in order to circulate their material effectively. Maintaining professional relationships will spider-web and expand your network contacts. It is therefore worth keeping up-to-date profiles on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.
Each individual has their own specialism and can offer you information in the form of research, quotes or knowledge about an upcoming event (to cover or attend) or a job opening.
Finding Your Specialism
There are many sectors covered in the media. Although it is advisable to be able to write on a wide variety of topics and in different styles; finding your voice and area of expertise is also advisable. Having the ability to be able to re-write the same article from a range of different angles with different perspectives is also a beneficial skill.
Due to a lack of understanding and some bad PR; businesses and individuals are often introverted and cautious around journalists. The odd few may even ask questions such as, ‘are you bugged?’, and will often withhold information making it hard to gain a full picture of the story. Adopting a professional, but friendly approach will help to some extent with the interviewee opening up however, be prepared to send plenty of follow-up / reminder emails. Journalists should always act with the utmost integrity and be polite when sending emails or on the phone. As noted by the BBC, ‘The profession should be built on values of fairness, impartiality, open mindedness and inclusivity. Journalists should be accountable for the results of their trade and understand that journalism isn't something you just do and walk away from.’
Having an inquisitive mind and the tenacity to source the truth are both characteristics that make a talented and successful journalist. Often the truth is hard to discover owing to human nature. As people, we are prone to exaggerating and distorting facts, and some unmistakably lie. Seeking the purest form of the truth, even if it as the cost of a story not being written, ultimately will mean that better work is produced in the long term.
Kevin Marsh, Editor for Today Programme commented, ‘we need journalists who refuse to pervert and trivialise the highest ideals of the craft to the basest ends. The right to know can never be translated as the right to peep.’