5 Tips for the Modern Journalist

By: Cam Patton | cpatton@newzgroup.com

Journalism is changing and we must change with it.  So how can today’s journalists stay ahead of the curve? Read these tips to find out!

Stay up-to-date on what everyone’s talking about

With seemingly limitless content circulating the internet, it is important that you are always plugged-in to the latest, most innovative news and ideas out there. Subscribing to sites like Ad Week and Advertising Age can keep you informed in a world of never ending media. Similarly, downloading leading news alert apps like Breaking News will keep you informed on what is happening all across the globe fourteen minutes faster than other news alert apps.

Don’t bog your story down with too many details

As Elements of Style author E.B. White once said, “Brevity is the byproduct of vigor”. A good journalist is one who can take the most exhaustive details of a story and translate them in a brief but impactful way. Journalists know that the details are important, but they also know that sometimes they turn readers off. So what is a good compromise for informing your audience while staying in an effective character limit? Give your reader the information they absolutely need and link them to the follow-up information they may want. When effectively utilized, you are able to keep it short and your reader is able to stay informed.

Stay connected

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, making sure you’re always plugged in to your audience is the key to success as a modern journalist. Maintaining your social media presence on all accounts will help boost your audience following and ramp up your appeal to a wide variety of demographics. Be sure to consistently engage with your audience on all platforms, but be cautious of the moments that you post. Research has proven that your audience is more likely to be receptive of the important information you give them if they feel you consistently engage with them even when you don’t have breaking news to relay.

Utilize video components

With the increasing popularity of video incorporation in journalism, it is important that you utilize video components whenever possible. Linking your content to outside videos and clips will keep your audience engaged and bought-in to the content you want them to read and view. Not sold on using video components as your primary content? Try utilizing short script followed by video components to give your audience the best of both worlds of journalism.

Always be prepared

News does not wait for anyone, and that is why it is important to always be prepared. Check out the App Store on your smartphone to see what programs are available to help perfect your craft. Downloading calendar apps like Fantastical 2 will ensure that you are never overbooked for meetings and interviews, while utilizing programs that assist in audio recording and note taking like AudioNote will keep you ‘interview ready’ at a moment’s notice. Similarly, investing in a cordless battery pack will help to ensure you never miss a document-worthy moment, no matter where you are.

If history is any indication it is unlikely that this will be the last time we see journalism change. As technology advances and the needs of our audiences change, it is important that we maintain stubbornness in keeping quality journalism alive. In order to achieve this goal, we must maintain flexibility and adapt to the ever changing way that people consume news.