Looking outside the box: 8th day of Christmas

The blog post that kicked off this series looked at how journalists and other professions have transferred their core skills to carve out completely new roles. My most recent post looked at emerging roles within media recruiters including community management and project management.

Today, I am looking at journalists who take the initiative in finding new markets by thinking a little differently. One job that comes up again and again when you look at emerging roles is that of community manager. It is something that more and more journalists are finding themselves doing and a role that requires a different skillset to what journalists have learned traditionally.

Secondly, some journalists are finding that there is a demand for their skills outside journalism including small businesses and charities. I spoke to three journalists who are already using their skills to serve these markets and have uploaded clips from the interviews to Audioboo.

1. Can you create more opportunities for yourself by playing a role in your “community”?

Journalists have traditionally worked in isolation from their readers/audience. New media has opened up this relationship and now journalists are needed to facilitate conversation as well as setting the agenda.

Multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook says that the idea of community will become increasingly important for journalists – and will required them to have a different approach then previously. A community manager must understand how to bring people together and connect people with mailing lists and events, he says.

Westbrook, who has made his own contribution to bringing together like-minded journalists with the Future of News Group, says that hyperlocals and niche websites work because their contributors are committed to that community.

“You look at Mashable. I think they work very well because they are part of that whole tech community. They go to all the events there, they are part of the conversation.”

2. Is there is a market for your skills outside “journalism”?

Freelance journalist Alex Wood is encouraging students on the course he teaches on think outside of the box when it comes to their work experience options.

Wood, who is part of the Not on the Wires collective, is doing this in his own work. One example is work he has done for a Japanese restaurant’s website where he used his journalism skills to turn words and pictures into a narrative.

“You can still play with anything even in the corporate sense and make it journalistic,” he says.

It is something that more of us might have to think about in future if Ben Chesterton, founder of the multimedia website duckrabbit, is correct. Chesterton, who produces “photofilms” for not-for-profit organisation, says that once you’ve stripped away the money from journalism you can’t get it back.

Chesterton has had a relatively successful first year with duckrabbit, but interestingly he doesn’t considers what he does as journalism. “It’s journalistic but it is not journalism.”

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2 thoughts on “Looking outside the box: 8th day of Christmas

  1. […] Looking back over the previous days, I am finding a clear theme emerging in the content – community. As Adam Westbrook said back on Day 8, it’s becoming a big thing for journalists. […]

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