We aren’t certain if traditional print journalism will soon fizzle out into extinction in the coming years, but we do know that digital journalism is gradually winning the media war and digital journalist will continue to remain indispensable.
Here in Nigeria, our typical news read by millions of Nigerians for the most part on online platforms.
Come to think of it, why take the liberty to go out into the streets and purchase newspapers when you could just get everything the hardcopy has to offer and even more on softcopy via your phone at the laid-back comfort of your couch?
While that question is at the mercy of your choice and discretion, if you want to be part of those responsible for providing the information meals consumed online by voracious readers or perhaps you are already one; a digital journalist, then you need these 7 must have skills to become a perfect digital journalist.
Stellar Writing Skills
This skill can’t be over emphasized. It’s the very first item on your digital journalism starter kit. Writing for the online information consumer base is one thing and writing for print journalism is another different thing entirely.
The class of people who scan and skim newspapers have this rare virtue of patience and endurance to go through all of its contents at best 50%, but their online counterparts are filled up with 80% millennia’s with a vacuum of patience and they love to read on-the-go.
You have got to exude premium writing skills to grab their attention and get them glued to a content. If your writing is downright boring and less-gripping, you will need to fine tune it awfully.
Hone brilliant writing skills and bring your writing A-game into the media party if you truly want to be a digital journalist with perfection and class.
Like I mentioned, we can’t possibly over flog this skill. It’s more important than your pen as a writer.
When you’re writing for newspapers, you could easily stare at SEO which is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization and just pass.
But when you go soft, try to ignore SEO and watch your content being ignored.
Keywords are the locus of SEO and digital writing. Placing them at strategic points and in their required number in your contents is very vital if you want your content to be read by your targeted audience.
If you don’t have this skill yet, you are encouraged to go acquire it pronto.
This is the act of making certain words, sentences or phrases in your content clickable.
That means when someone clicks on that word, phrase or link, it automatically takes the person to another site containing the relevant information needed.
Hyperlinks are usually distinguished with a blue font color and most times underlined. Learn this already.
In an environment saturated with copy-paste bloggers, one skill that will stand you out is your uniqueness. Dare to differ.
Own a unique tone and voice. Niche yourself and watch how you rise.
The way orthodox newspapers try to suffocate contents into paper sizes makes reading quite convoluted. Going digital, you have to chop up some sentences into paragraphs and sections, bold headings and sub-headings, use bullets and numberings and apply relevant contemporary formats in your content.
With the impatience akin to 21st century online news readers, if you slap up lengthy content in your blog or site, you scare them away.
Learn how to make it easy to read by formatting.
With almost a quarter of the world’s population on social media – Facebook having the lion share of the estimate, there couldn’t have been a more perfect plate to serve them this dishes. Latest naija news is getting more audience on social media than on papers.
As a digital journalist, you must be social media savvy to thrive.
What’s the word on the street about your content and how many page views do you get daily? While it’s difficult to keep track of your followings in print journalism, its’ a no-brainer doing that in digital journalism.
As a digital publisher, it’s pertinent to monitor your site views and clicks.
You do this to measure your performance and create a yardstick to check if you’re actually making progress.
Journalism is now playing by natural selection – principle of adapting or going extinct. So you could either shape in or ship out.
As a digital journalist, arming yourself with these skills is necessary in order to survive in the virtual news world.