If you only do one thing after finishing your Uni course or pass your NCTJ pre-entries then make sure it is to start and maintain a blog.
Quite simply it can be the reason you get a job. In fact, blogging is becoming such a popular way into the journalism world that the reputable City University held a talk for its students on how a blog could get them a job. Take a look at this and this to see two students accounts of the event and look up Dave Lee, Josh Halliday and Conrad Quilty-Harper who were the speakers (all of whom are under 25 and have jobs at national news outlets on the back of their blogs).
A blog for an unemployed, aspiring journalist is a necessary tool. It showcases your talent not only for writing but for attracting an audience and keeping them there. Finding a niche subject matter you are passionate about and posting regular, useful updates highlights to editors your ability to understand your readers needs. This is a skill that all editors are looking for and showing it in your blog will do you no harm in interviews.
It couldn’t really be easier to start a blog. There are many free hosting sites to get you started. A blog doesn’t have to be a chore either. If all you have time for is a weekly update that is your prerogative, just make sure your posts are meaningful and useful, nobody wants to read a weekly rant about the queue at the cinema.
A blog doesn’t just keep you writing either, it also helps you to learn new skills. HTML knowledge and multimedia management are just additional skills you can boast after a few months of blogging if you are willing to learn them.
So, a well maintained blog can act as a rolling CV, showcasing your talent and letting potential employers know that you are out there, however to get a blog noticed you have to move in the right circles and tomorrows post on networking will help to put that into place.
But for now, why not take a look at the below links to further whet your blogging appetite and help you set up.
Firstly, Adam Westbrook’s superb blogging series: “Why journalists must blog and how”. The first post of the series can be found here, but navigate around the site to find the others. They are a must read.
Wannabe Hacks are another example of how to be successful if you blog well. Two of their contributors had a very decent debate on the need to blog which can be found here.
And finally this post at Publishing 2.0 while posted in 2007 still rings true today.
Stop by tomorrow as we take a look at the merits of networking, both in person and online.