By Sonia Su
When I decided to be a journalism major with a concentration in magazines, I had no idea that I would gain so much online and digital experience. I’ve actually had more experience online than with magazines. And with my Patch internship coming to a close, I’ve realized that every aspiring journalist—whether in broadcast or print—needs to gain digital experience. Digital experience may not have as powerful an impact for you as it has for me, but I’ve learned that it can be incredibly valuable.
I have had amazing online journalism opportunities, writing for various publications from the local news startup BostInno to USA TODAY College, Her Campus to Patch—so I like to think that I’m somewhat familiar with digital journalism. (Don’t get me wrong—I will always have so much more to learn.)
Here are five reasons why you should try writing for the web, if you haven’t already:
- You learn to write for the reader. You can write as many stories as you’d like, but unless you’re doing it online, you can’t really tell if people are bored with your coverage. Immediate reader feedback is one of the reasons why having a website works so well—readers can easily comment on stories, share ones they like on social media (this post on youth mobbing was shared more than 4,100 times on Facebook), etc. But when writing for the web, you quickly realize it’s also important to learn and use search engine optimization or SEO. Whether you consider it a good or bad thing, you end up adjusting your writing to fit what people would search for to gain more views, and more views means more money advertisers will be willing to pay. While it may be a pain to write the occasional SEO-optimized story on when Baltimore County Public Schools start—and you may not even consider it journalism—I feel that your “real” writing becomes more interesting, readable and relevant. And it’s no question that getting eyes on our stories is a constant struggle for writers.
- You get to tell a fuller story with photos, video, hyperlinks, etc. I’m always confused when Continue reading