Leaving the inviting boundaries of a newsroom and a successful journalism career is a traumatic experience. Sometimes, the change may be for the better, sometimes for the worse. It all depends on the character and how people experience major changes in their life.
As a former journalist, you can definitely survive and even thrive in this new era. It’s not easy, but the success factor is to acquire new skills for a changing industry and a vulnerable economy. Most journalists are fast learners, smart and resourceful and open to new ideas. If anyone can adapt to changing market conditions, journalists can.
Looking for another journalism job is an option, but you know beforehand it won’t be nothing like what you gave up because of the newsroom buyout. Instead of crying over spilt milk, you can transform your traumatic experience into a lucrative change by looking into your talents and aptitudes and deciding on how they can be used in other activities. You’ll be surprised by how many options you have.
Many of your skills that defined you as a successful professional in the field of journalism are highly valued in other fields. As a matter of fact, some of your skills may even be more valued. It turns out that newsrooms tend to undervalue the writing, reporting and editing skills of their journalists, taking them for granted because they have an excess of supply. However, these skills are highly appreciated in other professional areas.
For instance, writing skills are often valued from consultant companies that look for valuable writing talent. The ability to write quickly, clearly and efficiently, to create PowerPoint presentations that are similar to a good story outline and to write good business plans are so rare in the business world that journalists are really coveted for their skills.
Besides, reporting skills are also highly valued in the business world. If you are proficient in research and analysis, and efficient in asking tough questions and getting real answers, you possess a remarkable talent that can have interesting uses in business. Curiosity and analytical skills are your ticket to a second career.
By now, you know that being a journalist encompasses a broad range of abilities. If during your journalism career you have been running a weekly section as an editor, you have also organizational skills that can offer you an equally successful career as a product manager. The experience journalists possess in handling deadlines is often a novelty in the business world.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel comfortable with a career change, you may apply your skills in citizen journalism. There are so many people who apply citizen journalism without having writing, reporting and editing skills. You may work as a copy editor or even start your own blog. People respect expertise and are eager to know what experts know. Pick a topic you feel comfortable with and you possess great knowledge and passion and blog about it. Blogs are often the starting point for a prodigious job offer.
There are always practical difficulties to reinventing yourself. Moving to a new industry means starting over again with new responsibilities and finding ways to capitalize on your strengths and skills to become as successful as in the newsroom.
Besides, it is extremely challenging to replace the emotional and intellectual rewards of the newsroom with a job that is related to the field of journalism, but nothing like it. Some journalists, although settled successfully into new jobs, admit that they miss the prestige of being a journalist with all the drama that comes along from putting out a paper every day.
There is no doubt that life after the newsroom can be scary; yet it exists. And as long as it exists, there is really nothing to be scared about. Even if you really miss the excitement of the newsroom, you may use your skills for public service. All you need is belief in yourself, motivation and an open mind.