Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Journalists: What elements to include in your porfolio career
Here's Adam Westbrook's advice on putting your portfolio together: "Ask yourself 'what is it about being a journalist that I really love', and then try and build a business around that."
You'll find a great deal more about building your own job, entrepreneurialism and portfolio careers in Masterclass 12 at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide's web-version: www.multimedia-journalism.co.uk
Here are some of the recommendations he comes up with:
Specialise in a single journalistic skill
For example, an expert in Freedom of Information requests (think HelpMeInvestigate) and investigations (think the Investigative Journalism Bureau).
Aggregate the news
Journalism professor Clay Shirky says: “If I was going to set up a news business tomorrow, it would be a business designed to create not one bit of content.”
Adam says: "You can build a business like Mashable or TechCrunch has done. They have aggregated, but built on top so they are the home page of tech news. If it's happened in that field, you’ll get it on those sites, and they build their own spin on top of it."
There are other areas of specialist content where this hasn’t been done yet.
Make a niche work
Forget broadcasting to the many – think connecting with the few.
You only need a thousand followers who will pay for your content to earn a living.
It needs to be a niche that really matters to that audience and you must become the place to go for information about it.
Launch a journalism collaborative
The most famous one – Magnum Photos - was a collaborative of photojournalists who re-wrote the rules of the game in the mid 20th century.
Magnum was born out of the Leica, a cheap, portable camera, and innovative people such as Cartier Bresson
There are parallels today, where multimedia technology is simpler and cheaper than it ever has been. Creating and publishing is very straightforward and it's easy to innovate.
Examples from the US:
The major groups are struggling: "They had a business model that required 30 per cent returns, and are having to lay off journalists to try to maintain that profit margin.
"A hyperlocal start-up can run on a much smaller margin. They can cut costs not by paying the journalist nothing but by not having to pay for a big office and a massive printing press."
So if you can really serve a community, keep your costs low, you can fill the gap that has been left by the retreat of the big-groups’ titles.