Buzz Feed, Mashable, Vox, Politico – all stand out as successful online journalism products. How do you freelance as a journalist in the world of Buzz Feed, Youtube born celebrities and The Guardian going visual online?
With the development and expansion of online journalism, freelancing has never been a more valid option for journalists. But do we need more than just good writing, video making, audio recording and social media skills?
As a writer since the age of 9, I personally found myself scared of business. The wording confused me, the marketing plans turned me into a hissing cat, and the whole journo-business-woman mix made my head spin.
(photo: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez, wikipedia)
For a long time I thought I, as a writer, a theatre, literature and movie reporter, an online video and podcast maker, would be incompatible with business. Then I discovered, by doing the enterprise module at Birmingham School of Media, I had the skills to pursue my freelance dream. My journalistic skills can be turned into entrepreneurial assets.
How I sold cultural products
With 5+ years of journalistic experience behind, currently undertaking a Master’s degree in online journalism, communication has been at the core of everything I did as a media person. In the world of the Internet, when every business must be present online or they miss out, great communication skills are a strong asset.
On top of that, I benefited from half a year experience as a PR officer for one of the major Romanian publishing houses, Humanitas Fiction. I was given the job for my experience as a culture journalist, and for my knowledge of the media.
Despite brief, my role in promoting books and keeping journalists interested in new releases and events offered me a great opportunity. I knew I could be assertive, confident and inspiring when I promoted a cultural product. My knowledge in the Romanian written media proved to have also weighed heavy in the balance.
Can I do business as a journalist?
Thinking back now, I have done this before. I took my skills from the Romanian written media, I took what I knew about how it worked and what fellow journalists were looking for, and it worked.
One rainy autumn afternoon in a Bucharest cafe I was told by a magazine book reviewer:
“You talk so convincingly about these books that now I have to read them.”
Why have I been so scared of enterprise then?
Was it the combining of 2-in-1, journalism and business, that was the daunting prospect?
Enterprise – a less scary business
The first thing I needed to clarify in my head was what I was actually selling. What was it that I presenting to a potential client, as an online journalist expert. After pondering this for a while, and discussing with my module leader Annette Naudin, finally I realised I was ready for business.
And I did not need to look far or scramble my head too much for possible entrepreneurship. My BA in Theology brought me to reporting on Faith for Birmingham Eastside. I have been doing this for over a year, and I now have good contacts around faith groups and organisations in the city.
On top of it all, I have recently offered my expertise towards an online faith project. I could say that I had it all laid out in front of me already.
Hopefully enterprise sounds a bit sweeter and more exciting for you too now. The next article will be on where and how to find inspiration.
If you have had any exciting or dangerous encounters with entrepreneurship or business ideas, would love to hear/read/watch your story on this.