Week 14 (16/11): Finding your niche

“Finding one’s niche” by FotoFloridian is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

BY RUTH BERAN

It may sound counterintuitive but one way to succeed in journalism is to niche.

While it always important to be flexible and willing to try anything as a journalist, specialising in a particular branch of journalism means that you become knowledgeable and potentially highly regarded and sought after in that field.

If there is a subject area that you are particularly interested in, more likely than not there is a branch of journalism that specialises in that field.

Online publications and magazines often focus on a niche area. Even mainstream publications may have pages or lift-outs devoted to certain types of stories (think Domain, Good Food, Sport in the Sydney Morning Herald). So get started, create some content in an area that resonates with you and get it published or broadcast. A body of work in that area could be your ticket to a paid job.

There are many different types of journalism (or niches) that you can specialise in, here are just a few.

  • Investigative journalism

Do you want to investigate scams, institutions ripping off people, corrupt politicians, unsolved murders, or sexual abuse? Is your aim to uncover the truth, to sleuth the answers to some of society’s big problems? Then you may want to be an investigative journalist. Democracy’s Watchdogs is a great resource for students who want to delve into this type of journalism. https://democracyswatchdogs.org/about

  • Sports journalism

Do you live sport? Tennis, football, netball, cricket…even if you are only interested in one particular type of sport, niching in that area will help you build a body of work. Take a read of this article on the importance of finding a niche in sports journalism.

Here are some tips on being a better sports writer and why being female is no longer a barrier to being a sports journalist.

  • Science journalism and environmental journalism

You don’t have to be a scientist to be a science or environmental journalist, but you do need to be able to tell complex stories in a way that everyone can understand. If you’re interested in stories on how things work and the technology behind news stories like COVID-19, climate change, astronomy, medicine, or energy (to name a few) then science journalism may be for you.

Here are some tips if you want to be a science writer and the Science Journalism Association of Australia has some great resources about science journalism.

There is also a Society of Environmental Journalists in the US.

  • Business journalism, and niche even further: real estate/property journalism

Got a head for money? Do numbers make you tick? Consider being a business journalist. If you want to niche even more, what about being a property journalist? In this article, Graham Norwood explains what a day in the life of a property journalist is like. And be careful, like any journalist if you fabricate stories you will get caught.

  • Music journalism

A dream job for many, music journalists get access to gigs and artists and music (of course). So how do you break in? Have a read of these articles from NPR and the BBC, and get cracking!

Niche and get published

The list goes on. If you’re interested in a particular topic, there’s bound to be a trade publication or website dedicated to it. A great way to get started is to introduce yourself to the editor and pitch some ideas. You may want to send some finished articles you’ve written on the editor’s specific topic, to see if your articles can get published. Niching may sound like you’re limiting your options, but you may find it opens a broad range of opportunities instead.

TASK

Assessment 2 portfolios are due today.

You should now have a portfolio of eight stories or other content for the various Off Campus student publishing platforms. You should also have a diary and reflection saved in your Final Assessments folder.

If you are still completing your stories, try creating a niched story in an area you are passionate about.

Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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