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Sunday, November 17, 2019

How Studying Journalism Helped Me as a Blogger




In May of 2019, I officially earned my degree in journalism from Kent State University. This was one of my proudest moments to date, and I absolutely loved my program. Majoring in journalism and communications exposed me to so many skill sets I still use today in blogging and in my 9-5 job as a social media assistant.

In 2019, majoring in journalism will definitely get you some questions from many older generation adults.  All throughout my four years, people would ask me "what do you want to do with that? or "Journalists can't make a lot of money." Don't get me wrong, these are valid concerns especially considering the current state of the publishing industry and so many print magazines and newspaper folding. But journalism isn't dying, it's just evolving.

ON MOVING WITH THE SHIFT 

It's just going digital and every day things are shifting. The "influencer" is almost equivalent to the magazine editor of 20 years ago. Things are very digital-first, and it's essential to optimize content for search and utilize social media as a tool to drive traffic to your site. 

One thing I loved about my classes in journalism school, is the push to create professional online multimedia pieces. A great multimedia story has so many elements, and it's made ENGAGE your audience. Some of the world, (including myself) has a super short attention span. We're no longer interested in reading stories that are solely print. We crave want a video. We want a cute and EASY infographic. I want short and sweet paragraphs that are relatable.

ON JOURNALISM AND BLOGGING 

I studied journalism at this super weird point where some of my favorite mags were folding, and it made me wonder at points if I chose the right thing to study. But at the same time, I was taking classes on podcasting, freelancing, and multimedia projects. And then it clicked... I didn't have to work for a publication to succeed. I could choose to build my personal brand, festivelyfaith.com with the same skills. On my blog, I'm my own editor, creative director, stylist, and marketing manager. Recently, I heard such a gem at the Forbes Under 30 Summit, and it's that people are their own media companies. And yes, it's sad that print isn't as popular, but it's also cool to think about different influencer/ blogger brands as small media companies.

ROOTED IN STORYTELLING 

I think the biggest difference in traditional media outlets versus blogs are just freedom for creativity and probably utilizing marketing. I have to think differently than just finding the truth and reporting it. I have to be my own authoritative source and think about how I can market a thought or idea to my audience in the most effective way. I can still use all the skills I learned in J-School, but it's just thinking about things in a different way. Everything in life is basically rooted in storytelling anyway. Like for example, if I'm doing a sponsored post or a post highlighting a product I'm loving, I have to think about how I can explain my story in a way that connects to the product. That's how bloggers can continue to gain trust, it has to be rooted in storytelling. Studying journalism helped me grow my storytelling skills tremendously, and I truly believe I'm a better blogger because of it.



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