By Sunayan Bhattacharjee, Assistant Professor and Course Leader, Pearl Academy
It would not be an exaggeration if it were to be said that the advent of the three ‘W’s has revolutionized human civilization and transformed our lives. From a mere 16 million users in December 1995, the number of internet users has surged to 4.208 billion in January 2018. Information has suddenly become ubiquitous and instantaneous and the communication platforms have been democratized. This process has influenced journalism no end. From being a producer-driven process, it has become a consumer-driven one. The contemporary generation does not wait for newspapers or news channels to get their daily dose of news. They get news at the click of a button anytime and anywhere. As an increasing number of people are getting used to advanced devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers, news has essentially taken a digital avatar. This digitization of news content has essentially given journalism a multimedia shape.
The proliferation of online news portals has further intensified the process. With online advertisements becoming a lucrative proposition, most of these news portals have started doing fairly well in terms of business generation. Thus, it is anybody’s guess that the requirement of online journalists is on an all-time high.
Before we discuss any further vis-à-vis the career opportunities in online journalism, it is essential to understand the distinguishing features of the field – features that set it apart from traditional journalism. If we were to dumb the same down into distinct pointers, we could essentially note the following:
- Online journalism is an assortment of texts, graphics, info-graphics, audio, video and animation.
- Online journalism is instantaneous. The manner in which news is disseminated has become instantaneous.
- Online journalism has given news an interactive shape with consumers being able to provide real-time feedback.
- Space and time no longer constitute any constraint. Consequently, it is possible to provide additional details through online journalism.
- Hyperlinks link stories and provide context and background.
- Most of the traditional news outlets including print publications and television news channels are supplementing their existing platforms with web portals wherein they put all their news stories.
Now, in the given scenario, traditional news outlets in addition to the news portals are increasingly looking for skilled multimedia journalists, who can easily tread on the online platform. Some of the most common journalistic positions that the news organizations offer are:
Journalists who can write stories, click photographs, shoot videos and record audios at the same time are high in demand. It is no longer enough to have just one skill.
Editors who can effectively edit copies for the internet can really make it big in the industry. It is essential to remember that editing copies for the online medium is entirely different from editing copies for the print medium.
Senior multimedia journalists, who know the tricks of the trade, eventually take up the responsibility of running news portals.
Designers and animators who can design impactful news graphics and animation content are highly sought after by most of the news portals.
Professionals who can design neat news portals with attractive interfaces are very few in terms of number and are high in demand.
However, it needs to be understood that the fundamental journalistic skills remain the same irrespective of the medium. A reporter still needs to go out and hunt for stories, he/ she still needs to be objective while covering the story and he/ she still has to be factual. Consequently, even though one might be in print or television or radio journalism, it is not really an uphill task to shift to the online platform. However, a sound technical knowhow is essential for a journalist to sustain in the online news industry.
While one can expect to earn anywhere between Rs. 10,000/- and Rs. 30,000/- per month at the beginning of his/ her career as an online journalist, the pay can rise to as high as Rs. 2,00,000/- per month once he/ she has established his/ her credentials. The key, however, is the propensity to constantly upgrade’s one’s skill sets and adjust to the demands of the industry.