Laid-Off Journalists: Listen Up!


Last week I was quoted about mom blogging in the Cision Navigator. After reading the article I hopped over to Cision’s media updates page and, man, was it grim. There is daily news about journalists who have lost their jobs, journalists who may or may not be replacing them, and even news about companies that have shut down entire divisions of their sites or publications. While there is some good news thrown in, there is no denying that traditional media has been rocked to its core by new media. So, if you’re a laid-off journalist I have some sound advice for you if you will be seeking a new job in the journalism field.

1) Embrace new media. Don’t fight it because new media is here to stay. It’s not some fly-by-night fad. That means, no more mocking bloggers who blog in their PJs.

2) Start your own blog. See what all the hoopla is about. Use your writing skills to pen a compelling blog. I recommend starting with WordPress or you can even use Tumblr. This blog is powered by Tumblr.

3) Create a Twitter account and figure out how it’s used. Twitter does have a steep learning curve. All of us hardcore Twitter users, at one time or another, scratched our heads and just couldn’t figure out how Twitter would be useful or why anyone would care about what we had to say in 140 characters. Once you get a hang of it, though, you’ll be good to go.

4) If you really want to grab social media by the horns, also join FriendFeed, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.

5) Create your own community. There is nothing more powerful than fostering a community of like-minded people who understand what you’re going through and who can also offer support, advice, and encouragement. You can create your own Facebook fan page to build a community or even use free social networking platforms like Ning, Collective X, and Social Go.

6) Start reading sites that cover new media like TechCrunch and Mashable. The New York Times also has a decent technology section, but only because they bring in great content from Read, Write, Web and GigaOm. They also have created Blogrunner, a great site that aggregates the best blog posts per topic from books and politics, to technology and business.

7) Keep your name in the headlines. Apply to become a member of Blogburst, a syndication service, based in Austin, TX. Blogburst takes your content and syndicates it on very reputable news sites. If you don’t have a very popular blog with a lot of traffic you won’t get paid for your work. But there is something satisfying about seeing your byline on Reuters.com and SunTimes.com, for example. I’ve had that happen many, many times. It’s really just an ego boost more than anything, but it’s better than nothing.

7) Do a little reading: If you’re looking for the motivation you’ve been lacking I recommend Gary Vaynerchuks’ Crush It. I haven’t actually read it, but if it is anything like the other phenomenal content he’s been pumping out to his followers, readers, and fans, it’s a must-read.

Embracing new media will give you the skills you may need for a new job. I’m not saying social media is the be-all and end-all, but it will give you a leg up on the competition. With the new media knowledge you’ll learn you will be seen as an asset to the changing world of journalism, not a liability.

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