1. Trainings and FellowshipsIn my final year thesis that was focused on the factors that influences Journalist's productivity, one of the findings in the research was journalist's interest in embracing training opportunities. Most journalists who were surveyed in the Vanguard and the Nation newspaper said training opportunity is a factor that influences them but admitted that most of the trainings they have been to are mostly self-sponsored. The management rarely provide training opportunities that can advance their career. However, as journalists we must not limit ourselves to the limited (or unavailable) training opportunities. If we really want to move ahead in our media career then we must be ready to maximize every training opportunities available. Popular online resource where we can find training and fellowship opportunities include: www.ijnet.org; www.internationalreportingproject.org etc. Trainings and fellowships help us learn, grow and be better equipped to do our jobs better.
2. Embrace the New MediaThe new media is changing the face of journalism. But how many of us here are maximizing the tools to advance our media career? A lot of people I know who are active on social media and very proactive in reproducing news contents from the news that professional journalists publish have no prior training in journalism. Yet, they are the ones making the best of the new media tools. What are professional journalists doing? There are different tools we must be willing to embrace in order to become more visible online. Some of the tools I use mostly are: Twitter, FaceBook, GooglePlus, Blogger, LinkedIn etc. Each of these tools have a strong way of helping us have a more impactful online presence. We must not settle for just creating news contents for our traditional media alone. We each can own a website or create a free account on Blogger or Wordpress and use them as channels to amplify our voices on issues we are passionate about. The more people know that you are actually a journalist and not just another blogger, the more they are likely to visit your blog to read original and accurate reports you publish. We can use the new media to engage others, network, collaborate and advance our career.
3. Profile: Tell your story rightJournalists are very good story tellers. We do a very good job telling the stories of others but not our story. The other day my former classmate was having a challenge in filling a space in an application form that required her to tell her story. The space required over 700 words. But all she had was some 390 words or so. I was perplexed after I read through the profile. "You are more than this," I said to her. I could not figure out if she was trying to be modest or she was just too timid to tell her story. But she eventually revamped her profile, adding more relevant information that she had initially left out. As journalists we need to have an audacious voice in sharing our experiences with others. Our profile should speak for us, online and offline. How is your current LinkedIn page, is it up to date? Is the picture you used on point? People are interested in learning about where we have been and why we do what we do. Without an up-to-date profile that accurately tell of our work, they cannot learn this. Don't get me wrong, this is not same as blowing our own trumpet. I think we are each shortchanging ourselves from possible opportunities that might come knocking if there is nothing about our story that draws those opportunities on.
These three points have not exhausted how we can advance our career this year. But like uncle Lekan said at the beginning of his presentation, it is important for us to do a reflective thinking that will help us figure out where we are at the moment, where we want to get to and how we can get there, i.e. the things we need to do. And by God's grace, we'll get there.