Each time I teach this class, I have to re-do much of the content, because the job market in most fields is in a constant state of change. The reasons: the economy, technology and changes in emergent and social media. This year, part of the job landscape includes job titles that most people have never heard of.
We used to say that we try to prepare you for jobs that haven't been invented yet. I'm going to add to that...and we don't even know the names of. Here are a few.
The platform wrangler/platform ambassador/platform yadda yadda. This position serves as a liaison with the various content platforms being used by media brands, according to a post on Digiday:
Vox Media is hiring for a director of partner platforms, who will “establish and own the relationship with all major content platforms” such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, as well as work with Vox’s own product, edit and revenue teams to provide editorial strategy direction, according to a job posting. CNN is planning to build a team dedicated to off-platform distribution under Andrew Morse, GM of CNN Digital, an acknowledgment that managing platforms “can’t be a part-time thing,” he said.The Engagement Editor. Take a look.
Have you got the right stuff to become a Meme Librarian?
Or what about: Chief Rainmaker and Storyteller?
I just attended a journalism conference where one of the speakers worked for the BBC test-driving social media and chat apps to figure out how the Beeb could use these tools in news gathering and distribution, whether it's a silly use of the app, Yo, or figuring out how to deliver news in African nations, where the cellphone is ubiquitous, but data streams are limited (so no one clicks on links.) How cool is that?
If you do it right, the journalism major provides you with a wide range of flexible, transferrable skills, like reporting, writing, production and audience building. Lots of companies and non-profit organizations need these skills, and you can find rewarding work in places that you just can't even imagine.
So how do you get these gigs? First, get some experience at a campus media outlet. Every student media outlet either does or should have these positions on staff. If they don't, volunteer to start one. Several students who have worked at AmherstWire.com have scored internships from this experience. Same with The Collegian, WMUA and UVC.
Second, take it on yourself to learn everything you can about how these systems work. You won't learn everything you'll need in your classes. The good news is that there are a lot of online resources that you could be reading every day. There are online courses at Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, and YouTube. There are digital publications like Neiman Reports, The Poynter Institute and others, on the right hand column of this page. Read 'em regularly.
Third, keep up with the tech industry. Every company is a tech company now. Keep up with developments in social media and the growth of new platforms. And I don't just mean having a Hootesuite account. I mean understanding what big moves Zuckerberg might be making when it comes to the news business. If you don't know what Instant Articles are yet, then get to work.
I'm pumping up my Twitter list, which includes job and internship postings and lots of tips. Subscribe to it: twitter.com/BJ_Roche/lists/thejournalismlaunchpad and follow me @BJ_Roche.