Journalism students should embrace a specialty niche and success will surely follow. That was the message a Pulitzer Prize -winning science journalist delivered last week at her alma mater.
“We’re in an age where journalistic specialists thrive in a way that generalists don’t,” Deborah Blum told Grady students during a pizza lunch in the school’s Drewry Room.
Niche publications are doing quite well right now, Blum said. Journalism students can, and should, build an audience writing about a specialized topic that strikes their interests.
“Journalism is very communal and writing is very communal,” Blum said. ” If you’re working in a specialty you can start building a national community while you’re in college.”
Blum, past president of the National Association of Science Writers, recommended students join an organization with common interests. The Council of National Journalism Organizations lists a variety of specialized organizations, many of which offer discounted student memberships.
Blum advised students to:
- Specialize at some level
- Build a national profile (through blogging and freelancing)
- Work for the student newspaper, get clips to get you to the next level
- Be strategic, build your profile and make connections
Blum, who maintains two of her own blogs and blogs for a true crime Web site, said that blogging allows students to hone their craft while attracting a national following. Blogs allow students to write classic journalism mixed in with some of their own voice.