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Branding is the New Journalism in 2010

By Talia Whyte, founder and director of Global Wire Associates, freelance journalist and 2009 Environmental Justice Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Journalism, University of Southern California

John Thompson, founder and publisher of came up with a top ten list of what journalists need to be doing in 2010 to stay competitive in the ever-changing news media landscape.

A topic on the list that sparked my attention was what Thompson said about branding. As more journalists consider the next steps in their careers, online marketing is becoming a major component to success.

…You need to build yourself an online persona, one that earns you a reputation of trustworthiness and one that allows you to build fruitful relationships with your readers and contacts. You can no longer necessarily rely on having a good reputation by proxy of association with your employer’s brand. And your reputation is no longer fleeting, as good as your last big story – there is an entire archive of your content building online that anyone can potentially access. Obvious ways to do this: Twitter, Facebook, personal blogging, but you can also build a reputation by sharing what you are reading online using social bookmarking sites like Publish2 and delicious.

This reminds me of a quote someone emailed me about recently: “Internet users aren’t destination focused–stop trying to drive people to your site and start driving them to your content.”

This is so true! Whether it is a potential new employer or gaining a fan base, in recent years, I have found out quickly that having a strong online presence can really make or break your career today.

The days of the paper resume are numbered. Not only is it essential to have sleek but functional website for employers to find examples of my work, but I have found that it is equally important to have my content located on other digital real estate.

For the last two years, I have been building up my online persona with an inventory of content on Twitter, Facebook and my many blogs, YouTube and Vodpod accounts, and it has really helped me stand out to potential employers who would not have found me online otherwise. Maintaining accounts on professional social networks like LinkedIn and MediaBistro have also been useful.  Online branding has helped me enhance the different ways I can tell stories on topics I care about to different audiences with articles, photos and podcasts.

Most importantly, I have also connected with many great people online by sharing information with each other, which has helped enhanced both my professional work and relationships.



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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