Young Journalists turned blogs into jobs

Professional journalists stressed the importance of brand building, self-promotion and conversation through blogging as the keys to finding jobs in journalism and get noticed.

In a panel discussion chaired by Dominic Ponsford, Editor of Press Gazette, three recently graduated journalists attributed their job-hunting success to marketing themselves through their blogging and microblogging habits developed during their time in university.

“There is no other way I could have got into the BBC with my student newspaper [contribution] or my undergraduate degree,” Dave Lee, the 23-year-old BBC World Service Broadcaster said.

Lee started getting noticed on the Internet after posting a blog entry criticizing Phillip Knightley, a renowned British journalist, of being a “dinosaur” in the evolution of journalism by rejecting the Internet. His entry was picked up by various influential media commentators, including Roy Greenslade of The Guardian, and magically opened doors for him as a journalist.

His amateur YouTube video of the BBC’s lack of coverage of the UK earthquake back in 2008 was spotted by SkyNews, which offered him £50 for the video.

“I said, ‘forget about the £50, give me a placement instead,’” Lee said.

His success brought by blogging echoed with the other two panelists.

“I would not have got a job if I wasn’t online,” Josh Halliday, a media and technology reporter from The Guardian, said. “Through Twitter, I mingled with the right people and got into the right crowd to network, without being too pushy.”

Regardless of the marketing and branding, all three of them agreed that “content is still king”. They advised an audience of journalism students to “just do journalism, have fun and be yourself.”

“I used my free time to moan about everything on my blog and I had fun,” Conrad Quilty-Harper from Telegraph.co.uk said, “Be proud of what you are doing, be yourself. That might get you a job.”

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