So You Want to be a Journalist?

0eabd9f0b92b5d9597e7953a097d2a20d5b8995f349147597ef7454f40c4a67fThe idea of a blog is outdated for many people. If you want to be a journalist however, maintaining a blog is a key element.

” The news cycle is now interactive. Journalists use microblogging to publish, share and find information, links, photos, videos and polls with large audiences from anywhere,” says Ellyn Angelotti, digital trends and social media faculty member at The Poynter Institute (p.45).

A good blog will take the life of its readers. Its up to you to facilitate the vision and start the conversation. The beauty in the idea of a blog comes into play when the readers take control of the content. The readers will be happy with the content and you will be happy with the traffic.

In this arena of journalism open-sourcing and crowd-sourcing are frequently used. Mark Briggs author of Journalism Next Third Edition states that, “Online, all relevant information is an essential part of the virtual-community conversation on a given topic.”

Keep in mind journalist who are currently in the field are creating content for their respective news agencies and working on multiple stories at a time with tight deadlines. Freelance reporters are investigating a variety of stories at any given time or possibly seeking employment. They do all this on top of producing content for their own personal blogs.

Running a successful blog requires you to be constantly on guard for the next story, as John Cook, former business reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer puts it.

I mention this not to scare anyone away from a career in journalism but to warn you it will take perseverance and dedication.




| Telling Stories with Video |


The Digital Video Revolution is among us.

Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics. 

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube- about an hour for every person on Earth.
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • 80 percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the United States.
  • Mobile makes up almost 40 percent of YouTube’s global watch time.

The time when you needed an expensive camera to make quality videos is dead and gone. It is easier for everyone to produce, edit and post content. This makes journalism an open field for well-trained journalist & novice alike. More & more news stations have at least one MMJ ( MultiMedia Journalist) on staff. Just about every major news program requires reporters to be active & engaging on social media.

Perfection isn’t necessary to successfully convey a message via video.

Walt Mossberg a veteran technology journalist provides us with an example of a higher end more expensive and technically sound video review on the iPhone 6s.

This video is clearly not of the same quality of the previous video however, Raymah Shaiki, the youtuber in the video was able to successfully deliver her message & received 26,156 views on her post.

The biggest trick to story telling with video is to practice, practice, practice. The more you record, the more you edit & produce, the better your video will become. The revolution may not be televised but it will be documented. Grab a camera or grab your phone and join in on the revolution.







GPB’s headquarters is located in Atlanta, Georgia, roughly ten minutes from Georgia State University’s campus. The Digital Journalism class I attend visited the headquarters.

Rosser Shymanski, the Production Manager at GPB led the class tour. The first stop we made featured this high tech lighting control system. The lights are on numbered sections that can drop down from the ceiling.

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The class then proceeded to the main floor of the studio. Once there Rosser said to the class that the popular show Paternity Court rented out the studio & filmed ten shows in one day!

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The director, producer and switcher would all be located in the room pictured below. Rosser explained to us that this room can become very heated with high tensions. The director would send commands to the switcher on what camera to switch to next and also communicate to the cameramen on what to be shoot.

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There are plenty of jobs to be done here at GPB however the staff is limited due to state funding, according to Rosser. To help with certain productions Rosser hires freelancers. Over the years he has acquired a very useful list of professionals in the field. Other peers in the industry will often seek Rosser’s council on freelancers to hire due to his deep pool of talent.

Georgia Public Broadcasting is a state funded and operated broadcasting station. In 2014 GPB took over Georgia State University’s student run radio station, WRAS-FM/Album 88.5 daytime programming.  Album 88, which is what the radio station is commonly known as is among the most powerful radio stations in the Country for a college.

With the acquisition of Album 88 the station is open to more Georgia State students. This benefit still was not enough to convince WRAS listener  it was a good move.

Chapter 3 Crowd-Powered Collaboration

Chapter three of  Journalism Next 3rd Edition  discusses ‘crowd-powered collaboration’.  What does that mean you may ask? To start you off don’t think of crowd-powered collaboration as a type of technology you would use. Instead view it as “how to harness a wide array of digital tools to knock down barriers, to bring journalists closer to readers and readers closer to journalism.”(p.92)


There are three terms you must understand in order to effectively collaborated with the crowd.

  1. Crowdsourcing is a term that is derived from ‘outsourcing’ & they are very similar. To crowd source is to “harness the sustained power of community to improve a service or information base.”(p.93) While this form of sourcing is still largely an experiment in the journalistic world many news organizations work to leverage the audience in their favor.
  2. Open-source reporting this refers to design, development and distribution. This style of sourcing is dependent on transparency. With the advent of social media sites such as twitter journalist have been able to become closer to their readers. Unlike crowdsourcing where a reporter would ask the audience a specific type of question for assistance. “Open-source means pulling the curtain back on the reporting process and welcoming the audience’s feedback”(p.99)
  3. Pro-Am Journalism is the equivalent of Do-It-Yourself tutorials for journalist. “The essence of pro-am journalism is simple once you understand that no news organization can be everywhere all the time. Readers provided the ‘what’; journalists can then provide the  ‘why’.”(p.103)
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Each form of sourcing has their advantages. The news organizations & reporters that use crowd-powered collaboration the best are those who incorporate all three elements of sourcing. Build and manage a community online and make your news collaborative. “The power of the Web comes from its interactivity. The link, which connects one piece of information to another, is the primary building block of the digital age.”(p.114) The next important tool is the concept of commenting, or contributing by the audience. Be sure the site you are using makes it easy for the audience to comment and or contribute.

Instagram for Journalist


What is Instagram? “Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures” as described by Its is a free app the can be found in the apple store & the android marketplace. The journalist who use Instagram the most effectively are the journalist who use the images to only draw in the reader & the caption briefly describes the picture. As opposed to attempting to post an entire article on the app. Some journalist attempt to publish stories that won’t make it into an official publication & those stories caption’s are more lengthy.

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This screenshot is from the of a journalist’s instagram.

History of Instagram

The name is a combination of “Instant Camera + Telegram= Instagram

The creators of Instagram say they created the app to solve three problems.

  1. Mobile photos always come out looking mediocre. Our awesome looking filters transform your photos into professional-looking snapshots.
  2. Sharing on multiple platforms is a pain – we help you take a picture once, then share it (instantly) on multiple services.
  3. Most uploading experiences are clumsy and take forever – we’ve optimized the experience to be fast and efficient.

Instagram promotes ‘instagrammers’

If using instagram for journalistic purposes you need to stay consistent. With the use of hashtags it encourages traffic. Once you have traffic your followers should have an attractive

Journalist are using instagram to lead potential viewers to other sites, or for branding and consumer engagement.

What makes Instagram unique for journalist is its element of crowd-sourcing. The users can provide looks into news stories. News channels such as wsbtv will encourage their followers to tag channel 2’s instagram profile in post.




snapchat-splash-iphone6-heroSnapchat was founded by Even Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown at Stanford University. Reggie Brown was the pioneer of the app. Snapchat’s original name was ‘Picaboo’ with 127 users now the application has 30 million active users. Snapchat is a good marketing, communicating with specific audience, privacy and entertainment. Snapchat first was made for nudity due to its discreet nature.

Now the app has evolved greatly. With the advent of the Discovery tab organizations such as CNN can post a series of snippets that can drive users to the stories.

snapchat-discover-stock-1016.0.0 The functionality of snapchat is important for media organization. People in the current generation are rarely waking up & grabbing the New York Times. Phones are the main source of news for a lot of young people and even still we aren’t going to news organization’s mobile sites. The youth are using social networking apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. As you can see there’s a long list of sites to visit. With this being the case its up to media outlets to get in front of potential viewers.

The Washington Post employs Snapchat for their foreign correspondents. The video below shows the snap story of a journalist covering the elections in Nigeria.



What is Reddit….Really?


Reddit is an online bulletin board and users can vote individual post up or down to organize post on relevance. It was founded by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman & Alexis Ohanian in 2005. Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto were among the investors who saw their investment in the company valued at $50 million.  Although the company has a very basic site. Some may describe it as ‘ugly’. The reddit community says the basic texty look of the site adds to its appeal.

Reddit has a very large and diverse user base so the content has a wide range of ‘subreddits’ or topics. Although the user base is large majority of the user are young males. A downside to reddit is the kind of hive mind set showing negative signs of group psychology. Some pages can be very graphic in the comments made.


The usefulness of Reddit is access to credible first hand reports. These reddit reports can lead journalist to stories. Visit the site & browse to see what users are talking about and find inspiration for a story.

What is a sub reddit A sub reedit is a sub community within a

Be engaging as a user, follow redditquette & use the 10% rule. The 10% rule on reddit refers to posting no more than 10% of your own news organization’s news in a day.

Twitter or should I say Twttr?

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Twitter or twttr as it was originally named is the big joker, the holy cannoli of social networks sites for journalist.

If you are an aspiring journalist clean up your twitter & if you don’t have one get from under your rock. Twitter is apt for journalist due to its high traffic, thirst for information by its users & ease of searching. Twitter users pioneered the use of the ‘hashtag’, represented by #.

Users place importance on specific words in a tweet. The trending topics are based off hashtags in a particular region. For a journalist this is gold. With the right picture & subject line combined with a catchy hashtag it can propel your piece into the infamous viral stage.

Is that not every journalist goal? To have their work appreciated by the public.

Twitter brings that ease to your fingertips, literally.



LinkedIN is a social media site that allows you to network with professionals in your career path. With over 200 million users the database is large enough to positively affect all of its users. For college students LinkedIN is a vital resource. The greatest feature to LinkedIN in my opinion is so great due to its simplicity & overall easiness to use.

How does this benefit journalist?

Other than its obvious benefit of connecting you with other professionals in your field, LinkedIN is a valuable pre-interview tool. Say you have an interview set up with a local business owner. Before you arrive to the interview you would need to have background information on the business.

LinkedIN unlike many other social sites is more likely to help you than hurt you. Few profiles on LinkedIn have information that employers would look down upon. What you need to keep in mind is that there are over 200 million other people on the site. It is imperative that your page stands out. Not in a bad way. Do not be the person who post what they do every weekend.

If you’re truly good at something people will tell you. LinkedIN has a feature for other users to endorse you. There are a list of skills & expertise that you can put to your site. Once its put to on your profile other users can endorse those skills, which adds credibility to your site.

LinkedIN is worthless without credibility. Show work samples & be identifiable and you can be successful through LinkedIN

Facebook for Journalist

From ‘Who’s hot & Who’s not’ an online site for Harvard students to 900 million active users as of 2012. Facebook is a leader in the social media arena.

With the affect Facebook has on the digital arena journalist have made the site work for them. Journalist use Facebook to distribute news, showcase multimedia & gain access to communities.

Although Facebook has contributed greatly to the spreading of news there are pitfalls to the site as with all social media in concern with spreading news. Unverified information & non credible leads are two of the biggest pitfalls to spreading or receiving news from Facebook.

Facebook recognizes its impact on the journalistic world. There are pages on the site that instruct journalist on how to effectively post stories to Facebook. Another quality incentive for journalist to join Facebook are the groups for journalist.

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For a journalist to be successful on Facebook his/her page must be professional. Pages are created for your career and should be used strictly for that purpose.

Professional accounts for journalist grants them the opportunity to cover stories without having to pitch the idea to an editor. Again it is important that you delete any compromising information that can be connected to you. Always cover your tracks in this digital age.