FYI: this post is going to be nothing about writing. There’s no hiding in the media that journalism isn’t what it used to be. Print-based journalists are having to adapt their skills, and if you’re just starting out in the industry, you’re expected to be one of these ‘digital natives’. Rather than being a master of your own art (writing), it’s not uncommon today for journalists to be expected to know their way round a camera, live tweet a story, know a bit of design to be able to illustrate their story, and basically be able to choose the best format for what you’re trying to say.
I did a multimedia journalism course for my NCTJ, because – although I wanted to work in magazines initially – I knew having this added bonus of digital skills on my CV would look better. It couldn’t have been more helpful and I wish that I took more time to ask questions, put in the extra work, and do my own documentaries with a camera. We had several afternoon workshops on documentaries that were all compulsory – and fun. But they were also pretty quick, too. Added to the fact that I was doing a full-time course while working in the evenings and on the weekends and trying to desperately save up to go travelling, spending ‘extra’ time doing college work wasn’t always what I wanted to do.
When I applied for a job as a multimedia journalist, I realised all the things I loved doing on my course could actually be put to good use – but it would have been even better if I had ACTUALLY carried on using these skills throughout my role as an editorial assistant – where digital really wasn’t a priority. Unfortunately I didn’t and I’m kinda having to rack my brains back to 2012 when I was studying it.
This week was the first time I went out with the camera on my own (meaning without our video producer). The social media editor and I, plus a very helpful work experience, went out onto the streets of London to do some vox popping, and even though there was some slight lighting issues (which I managed to rectify half way through after finding the setting on the camera), it was a lot easier getting out there and doing it than I thought, and something I hope to do a lot more of in the new year.
So if you’re just starting out or studying journalism – PICK UP A CAMERA. Start practising the skills that you’re going to need, or will be highly valued, when it comes to the real world of working journalism. You can’t hide from the multimedia aspect of this industry anymore, so there’s no point leaving it on the back burner, like I kinda did.