Online Journalism - The Way Of The Future

Online Journalism - The Way Of The Future


Online journalism is the way of the future and needs to be acknowledged by anyone who is seriously considering pursuing a career in this field.  Many traditional newspapers are having a hard time maintaining their circulation due to the fact that people can get their news right on the internet, and much quicker than they could if they waited for the latest edition of the paper.  We are gradually moving towards the internet for the latest news and the traditional newspapers are being left in the dust. 


This does not mean that there is not a calling for print media and those who want to work for a paper or a magazine.  Despite the fact that people can get news quicker on the internet than they can with a paper, people still like to have something tangible to hold.  Magazines are not suffering as much as newspapers when it comes to circulation. 


There is one way that you can take advantage of  the fact that many newspapers are dropping their full time staff an that is to become a freelance journalist.  You can writer for more than one outlet in this way, especially if you are writing for online media.  Most internet news media hires freelancers instead of full time staff.  Freelance journalism over the internet is one way to find a career in the field of journalism and get paid for writing. 


There is one caveat to becoming a freelance journalist online, however.  That is that the online media is not taken as seriously as the print media. Despite the fact that the print media seems to be diminishing, they are still considered the top dog when it comes to writing.  The internet news venues are like the poor relation compared to the larger news conglomerates.  Still, online writing is the way of the future and many experts predict that we will see much fewer newspapers in 10 years time. 


You can get started working as a freelancer at an online news network by applying.  You will apply electronically just as you would for an off line job.  You also want to be sure that you send an updated resume and portfolio.  This is when your website will really come in handy.  If you get a job as an online freelancer, chances are that you will work from your home and be given assignments.  Depending on the outlet for which you work, you may or may not be given enough work to make a living.  The good news is that as a freelancer, you are not committed to any outlet.  You can moonlight at other publications and, as long as you do not copy your own material, you can make a living in journalism right from your own home. 


Another positive aspect about online journalism writing is that they may not require a degree.  You can get started by applying for different jobs at any online news media site that you see. 


The negative aspect to being an online freelancer is that you do not have the same job security as you would have if you worked off line.  Websites come and go frequently and  you may end up with the short end of a stick if you choose one that ends up folding, especially if they owe you money.  Another negative aspect about an online job is that there are many unscrupulous companies out there that will take your work and not pay you.  Some will even offer to pay you by page views.   I ran into one company that said they were going to be a formidable force online and wanted experienced and educated writers that would write news columns for them for free, in exchange for getting page views.  They did not tell me of this rule until I was ready to sign up.  I demurred and decided to stick with the job I still have and I am glad I did.  Not only did I get the column that I wanted at my current job, but I have yet to see anything about this site that promised to “take over the internet” with their news stories.


All journalists should look to the internet as a potential career move.  In addition, right now it is a smart choice to work as a freelancer in this field as there are many more opportunities open to you both online and offline. 


Look to make about $50 an article when you are starting out.  I have found this to be true both online and offline.  Most freelancers are paid a flat fee for their articles and it is usually in this range.  Remember if you are freelancing, either online or offline that you need to put some money away for taxes.  You can fill out a Schedule C for your income taxes and pay a self employment tax for what you make.  If you do decide to go the freelance route, as many journalists are doing, be sure to have a good accountant who will be able to advise you on what type of deductions you can take on your income taxes. 


Both online writing as well as freelancing are ways of the future when it comes to the field of journalism.  If you are going to pursue a career in this field, chances are that you are going to start off  in one or the other - or both. Have an open mind and make sure that any online sources that recruit you are willing to pay you for your articles.  Just say “no” to those that promise page view money as your only compensation, even if they are planning on “taking over the internet.”  

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