After speaking about web tools and blogs in two college classrooms this week, I get the impression that most journalism students still haven’t heard the rumor that blogging will help them find a job.
In one class, only three out of ten had any experience writing a blog. In another, two out of 20+ had blogged.
In a day when journalism bloggers are becoming celebrities, why haven’t students caught the blogging bug?
I tell all the journalism students I meet this: blogs are the minimum. There’s no excuse for a student journalist who wants to work online not to have one.
I’ll say one better. Blogs are the minimum for all journalists. Regardless of whether a student wants to work on the web, in print, on TV or milk cartons, blogging shows that you have a passion for creating content, gives employers something to look at and also gets you on the same level as the rest of the industry.
Print writers need to know how to blog and they need to blog! TV writers could benefit from blogging as well. Check out meteorologist Bill Steffen’s blog from WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich. He gets comments like nobody’s business – FOR WEATHER!
Back to the point, students. You need to blog to find a job. No joke!
No newspaper editor would hire an applicant who didn’t know the function of the A-section. No TV news director would hire someone who couldn’t pick out a sound bite or define the term “B-roll.” While we don’t need code monkeys, we do need people who understand the unique attributes of the Web as it pertains to journalism.
I ask job applicants if they have a blog. Most of them don’t. Then I ask them if they read my blog. About half of them haven’t … it helps winnow down the candidates pretty quickly.
Awww nuckers! You hear that, job applicants? If you happen to get an interview at the News & Record, you better do your homework.
The debate has been flowing over at Online Journalism Blog over whether or not journalism graduates should have their own blog. It’s a great debate.
But the bottom line is this: If you’re a journalism student (or anyone looking to succeed in mass comm), you need a blog. You need to learn how to cover a beat and write for a niche. You need to learn how to write for an audience and tap them for information. You need to be able to understand the web, or at least show a willingness to learn.