When I do my free resume reviews for students and young journalists starting out, many times I either see gaps in employment or not enough internship experience or time on school media platforms.
When I discuss the findings of my reviews, I note the lack of experience or the gaps and ask what they are doing to continue to perfect their craft. I get vague answers about how hard it is to find freelance work, and the conversation peters out.
The lack of freelance work is NOT an excuse. With all the free and low-cost web-based platforms out there, there’s no reason why you can’t use them to showcase your work. I found a great article forwarded to me by one of my Twitter followers from the International Journalist’s Network blog: “Six tips for journalists on launching a successful blog.”
I blog here. I also created AviationQueen.com back in November 2010, and I regularly guest post on journalism and aviation blogs. My blog and others were godsends when I got laid off in October 2011. Some gigs were paid and some were not, but all of them got me exposure and led to job leads.
But blogging is not the only thing you can do. Create a talk show on BlogTalkRadio on the topics you hope to cover. I met Hezzie McCaleb, one of the founders of Barbershop Sports, at the NABJ convention in San Diego. Check out their website and how they use BlogTalkRadio.
Other ideas to get your work out and practice your craft:
- Create your own stories using tools like Ustream and post them on your own YouTube or Vimeo channel;
- Start a Tumblr blog on a specific topic;
- Offer to guest blog on blogs you admire and have some expertise in;
- Create your own podcasts using tools such as SoundCloud, Cinch or AudioBoo;
- Comment on blogs and websites you admire, using the URL for your blog so people can follow your work; and
- Sign up for social media platforms to further promote your work.
I understand that we all have bills to pay, and sometimes we have to take that job outside journalism to make sure we have a roof over our head and food in the fridge. But with all the tools out there, you have zero excuse not to keep up your journalism skills. Good luck!!
Benét J. Wilson is the vice president of education for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force. She also serves on the board of the Online News Association. She is the coeditor of AirwaysNews.com and a freelance aviation journalist and blogger.