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Top takeaways from our social media journalism panel

Patricia Cruz

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We invited editors and producers from across the industry to share their advice and experiences of being a social media journalist.

The panellists included Chandni Sembhi, senior producer for PinkNews, Helen Thomas, senior social editor for VICE, Neve Gordon-Farleigh, TikTok producer for Journo Resources, and Will Thompson, social media manager and digital sports journalist for Sportsbeat.

Helen and Will both did their NCTJ training with .

What is a social media journalist?

In the age of social media, journalists have adapted to find stories, write pieces, film videos, and publish them in the spaces the public are most likely to consume them.

There is increasing demand for multimedia journalists who can navigate social media, consider audience analytics, and get creative with journalism that suits every type of social media platform.

Our social media journalism panellists gave advice to aspiring journalists via Zoom.

What skills do you need?

To be a good social media journalist, first and foremost you need to be a good journalist, reporting on the news quickly, accurately, and fairly.

You also need to develop some specific skills to make the most of the platforms available to you.

Will said: “One of the most important skills is your research because social media is a constantly changing landscape.”

Chandni and Helen agreed, saying you should learn the changing rules and trends of each platform, what the algorithms are, and learn to read and interpret social media analytics.

Helen said: “Numbers are the best proof of what people want. Not that we should let the algorithm decide our content, but you can use stats to guide you.”

There are plenty of tools out there to help journalists tell stories on social media.

Chandni said: “I use Canva all the time, it’s great. It helps to create a consistent theme across your platforms.”

How can you start getting experience?

The first step to launching any career is to get some real-world experience.

Although finding work experience can be difficult, there are loads of ways you can get started.

Neve said: “It’s about being able to put yourself out there. If there isn’t experience coming to you, make it yourself – create a blog or a YouTube channel for example.

“Showing your transferable skills might pay off more than a week of work experience where you make a few phone calls.”

Helen added that having a successful personal social media profile can boost your chances of landing a job in social media journalism.

She said: “TikTok is a really good resource. If you have the confidence to do it, it’s definitely something I would recommend.”             

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What are some tips for applying to jobs?

All the panellists discussed the need to understand the brand of the company you are applying too.

Will said: “You have to understand the audience you are talking to. You have to know the tone of voice of who you are working for.

“Social channels are the shop windows for the brand, it’s what everyone sees, it’s public. You have to be mindful of the power of social media.”

Helen said it’s important to read and care about the publication you want to work for so you come across as genuine and enthusiastic.           

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What are the biggest challenges?

Chandni spoke about the difficulty of navigating what you should be paid.

She said: “Pay can vary so wildly in this industry, it can depend on so many different things. When you’re starting out it’s really hard to know your worth.”

Will shared the challenge of coming up with fresh ideas when scheduling so much regular content.

He said: “Everyone gets creative block. Like with every job, take a break so you can come in fresh. You need to look outside the box.”

The panellists agreed about the need to be as impartial as possible.

Neve said: “Sometimes you do need to leave your opinions at the door. Find your niche and be consistent.”

What training do you need?

The panellists discussed the different routes you can take into social media journalism.

Helen said: “I would recommend doing an NCTJ journalism course because there are certain things you really need to learn, like media law and impartial reporting.

“I did a part-time course which meant I could work freelance alongside it. The NCTJ is very hands-on which I really liked.”

Chandni said: “Journalism courses are so good for meeting people and having those ready-made industry contacts.”

You don’t have to go straight into a journalism course to become a social media journalist – plenty of people go into the industry having had different jobs beforehand.

Will said: “It’s never too late. Go out and get the experience.

“There’s a lot of brands who want to use an authentic voice so if you become a micro-influencer who has an in-depth knowledge of something you can start working with brands and become a go-to person.”

Neve believes if you work hard enough you can always find a way into journalism.

She said: “If you’re willing to fill the gaps in your knowledge – with an NCTJ course, or another way – I certainly don’t think it’s ever too late to change your career path.”

Check out our blog on how to prepare for an NCTJ journalism course!

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Journalism

The Top Journalism Websites for News and Analysis”

Alice Trout

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Journalism plays an essential role in keeping the public informed about current events and issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wide range of news and analysis from reputable sources. Here are some of the best journalism sites for keeping up-to-date on the latest happenings around the world:

  1. The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) – The New York Times is a well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture.
  2. The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) – The Washington Post is another well-respected newspaper that has been in operation for over 150 years. It offers in-depth coverage of national and international news, as well as commentary on politics, business, and more.
  3. The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) – The Guardian is a British newspaper that offers a wide range of news and analysis on politics, business, technology, and culture. It has a strong reputation for investigative journalism and has won numerous awards.
  4. BBC News (www.bbc.com/news) – BBC News is the online news division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events.
  5. Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) – Al Jazeera is a Qatari news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa.
  6. Reuters (www.reuters.com) – Reuters is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of business and financial news.
  7. CNN (www.cnn.com) – CNN is a global news organization that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of breaking news and live events.
  8. The Economist (www.economist.com) – The Economist is a British magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on economics and politics.
  9. The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) – The Atlantic is an American magazine that offers a wide range of news and analysis on international, national, and regional events, with a focus on politics, culture, and technology.
  10. ProPublica (www.propublica.org) – ProPublica is a non-profit organization that focuses on investigative journalism. It has a strong reputation for its coverage of politics, business, and social issues.

Guest blogging is a highly effective marketing strategy that every business should be utilizing. By purchasing PR publications, you can increase traffic and establish authority.

These are just a few examples of the many great journalism websites that are available. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, in-depth analysis, or a particular perspective on current events, these sites are an excellent starting point.

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Journalism

The Ethics of Healthcare Advertising: Balancing the Right to Information with the Risk of Deception

Alice Trout

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Healthcare advertising has the potential to inform and educate the public about important medical treatments and products, but it must be done in an ethical and responsible manner. On one hand, the public has the right to access information about healthcare options that may improve their quality of life or save their lives. On the other hand, there is a risk that healthcare advertising could deceive or mislead consumers, leading to negative consequences for both the companies and the public.

One issue with healthcare advertising is the promotion of prescription drugs for off-label use. Off-label use refers to the use of a drug for a purpose that has not been approved by the regulatory agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. While it is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label use, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to promote drugs for off-label use. This is because the FDA has not determined that the drug is safe and effective for the unapproved use.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies have been known to engage in off-label promotion in order to increase sales. This can be harmful to patients, as they may be prescribed a drug that has not been thoroughly tested for the specific condition they are suffering from. In some cases, off-label use of a drug can even be dangerous.

Another issue with healthcare advertising is the use of exaggerated or misleading claims. This can include making false or unproven statements about the effectiveness of a drug or treatment, or downplaying the risks and side effects. Such practices can lead to consumers making informed decisions about their healthcare, and can also harm the reputation of the healthcare industry as a whole.

In order to strike a balance between the right to information and the risk of deception, it is important for both regulatory agencies and the healthcare industry to prioritize ethical practices in healthcare advertising. This can include measures such as strict oversight by regulatory agencies, clear guidelines for the approval and review of advertising materials, and campaigns to educate the public about how to evaluate and interpret healthcare advertising. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the public has access to accurate and reliable information about healthcare options, while also protecting against deceptive practices that can harm both consumers and the healthcare industry.

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Journalism

Supporting Startup Founders’ Mental Health: The Importance of Prioritizing Well-Being in the Fast-Paced Startup World

Alice Trout

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As the startup world continues to thrive and grow, it’s important to recognize that the fast-paced, high-stress environment can take a toll on the mental health of founders and employees. In fact, research has shown that entrepreneurs are at a higher risk for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression compared to the general population.

One key factor that contributes to this risk is the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure that can come with starting and running a business. Additionally, the long hours and lack of work-life balance that are often associated with the startup world can also contribute to mental health challenges.

It’s essential that startups prioritize the mental health of their founders and employees, not only for the well-being of the individual, but also for the overall success of the business. Research has shown that mental health issues can negatively impact productivity and decision-making, which can have serious consequences for a company.

There are a few steps that startups can take to support the mental health of their team members:

  1. Encourage open communication and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health concerns.
  2. Offer resources such as counseling and mental health benefits to employees.
  3. Foster a culture of self-care by promoting healthy habits such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  4. Set boundaries and encourage work-life balance to prevent burnout.

For those not ready to go to the doctor or looking for support, mental health startups Europe offer help through apps.

It’s important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial that startups prioritize the well-being of their founders and employees. By taking steps to support the mental health of their team, startups can create a positive and healthy work environment that leads to success for both the business and its employees.

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