Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Would you hire you?

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on June 6, 2011

Imagine you’re an editor at an event, and a plucky young journalism student introduces themselves. 

After a little bit of chat, they hand you this card. Would you hire them?

Obviously it would be cool to have someone called Don Draper working in your newsroom (assuming you had a lax ‘No Smoking’ policy); but that aside it’s not a very grabbing advertisement. Yet I see countless student journalists who refer to themselves on their own websites, twitter feeds or blogs as an “aspiring journalist”.

When I trained at City University in London, one of the first things we were told by the then head of department Adrian Monck was that we were, from that moment on, journalists, and were to start thinking like journalists.

Now repeat the scenario, and this time, imagine they hand you this card:

Would you call them in for an interview now? And what about if they handed you this card?

All three cards belong to the same person, except now they’re selling their skills and experience a lot better. They’ve also got rid of their hotmail account, learned some basics of design & typography, and forked out for professional domain name.

The point is, no-one knows how good you are unless you tell them.  Boldly, and with confidence.

Journalism is not law or medicine: you won’t get hauled before a council for saying you’re a journalist without the right qualifications to back you up. I once saw Peaches Geldof introduce herself as a journalist, so really, anyone can do it.

As the exams and coursework deadlines come and go, don’t undermine all that hard work and training by selling yourself short.