If there’s one piece of advice a seasoned journalist would give to someone just starting out, it would be this: grow a thick skin sooner rather than later. The unfortunate truth of the industry is there are a lot of forces working against professional journalists, including long hours and a job that often seems thankless. And that’s only the beginning.
The good news is that for every difficult part of the job, there’s a solution - or at least a way to make the challenges a little easier to deal with. Here are three of the most frustrating hurdles for journalists and the ways to fly over them.
1. Optimizing news for social media
Since smartphones exploded onto the scene, starting with the iPhone in 2007 and Android in 2008, there has been a shift in the way people consume news. Print and TV used to the be the go-to methods, but in recent years they’ve declined as people opt for online news sources instead.
To keep up with this trend, journalists need to make sure their stories are optimized for social channels. Not only will they be more competitive by breaking news faster, but they will also take advantage of the global reach of social channels, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
One of the keys to getting stories in front of the most people is by utilizing the juiciest, most relevant words in news stories and hashtagging them. Adding that single symbol to the front of keywords may seem like a small effort, but it has a big payoff: it automatically posts the news story onto a dedicated page with all the other social media posts that have used the same hashtag. Hashtags are a quick way to have a big impact with just one character: #.
Remember to find a happy medium in your news hashtags. On one side there are very commonly hashtagged words, which will end up in a post getting quickly buried; on the other side are overly specific hashtags, which won’t be used by anyone else and have little chance of getting seen. For instance, if there’s a breaking a story about a drought in California, using “#water” won’t get much traction, but using “#droughtinsoutherncalifornia” is too specific and long so it’s not likely that it will be used by many people. Going with something like “#calidrought” has the right balance to be used by lots of people.
2. Converting audio and video to text
Transcription is a roadblock to breaking a story. It’s tedious, time-consuming and expensive. By the time an interview or news conference has been transcribed, another newsroom has probably already broken the story. And typing files yourself is not always an option - especially when there’s a looming deadline.
There are great ways to get files transcribed much faster and for less money, putting deadlines within reach. Advances in speech-to-text technology mean that digital files can be transcribed in minutes instead of days, and for much less money. Digital AI transcription software like Trint transcribes files in less time than the original file, and with prices starting at USD$0.20 per minute, the cost is far lower than human transcription services. The first 30 minutes are free for new users.
3. Additional responsibilities of a journalist: it’s a role with many hats
The job title “journalist” encompasses far more than simply reporting on stories. “Journalist” is also synonymous with reporter, editor, writer, transcriber, copywriter, proofreader, publicist, public relations associate, social media manager, digital marketing specialist - the list goes on! Working in the field of journalism not only requires wearing a lot of hats, but also being able to switch between roles with great agility.
The number of digital tools that can simplify and speed up all the different jobs of a journalist is growing every day, and luckily journalists have more tools at their disposal than ever. Boost Editor is an augmented writing platform that scans text and analyzes the contents, then lists the primary emotions a reader is likely to feel when reading the piece. If deadlines have come and gone and you just need the story to write itself, try artificial intelligence journalism tools like Knowhere News, which uses AI bots to write unbiased stories on trending topics. Finally, social media posts can be scheduled in advance with tools that suggest the optimal the time of the day for maximum viewership using free platforms like Hootsuite.
Being a journalist has plenty of challenges, but there are ways to streamline the workflow. By using the tools we’ve outlined, today’s journalist can navigate around roadblocks and be the first to break a story.
Journalists: if you're looking for even more ways to save time and still tell better stories, download Trint's free eGuide: