As per a report, the media industry in India is likely to hit a whopping $37.55 billion by the year 2021. The passion for journalism in the nation has been on the rise for the last few years as more and more people are taking up journalism courses and are running to be a part of mainstream media houses, mostly covering politics, crime, sports and consumer tech beats etc. Amongst them stands a certain section who are interested in exploring the uncharted territory of tech-journalism i.e., enterprise tech beats.
Most of them remain confused and clueless about where to start or how to begin a career in tech-journalism, considering the fact that a very few or no journalism school in the nation which provides a curated course about tech-journalism and most of the media houses are focused on consumer tech beats. Thus, the road to becoming a tech-journalist becomes tough for many, for the nature of the profession is extremely tight and highly competitive.
In this article, we shall discuss a few ways, which will open the doors to the world of tech-journalism, especially the enterprise tech beats.
Understanding The Landscape
To be a tech journalist one needs to not only learn journalism but also needs to understand the tech space and especially the one which is enterprise beat — very different from “Iphone news.” Understanding the landscape is the most important point of all since a writer cannot write by merely copying or paraphrasing. A writer must understand the topic she or he is writing about, and due to this reason, the best way is to read as much as possible from different sources. Without a technical background, the beginning could be tough due to the vast and every second evolving nature of the domain. However, with time, the learnings will fall into place since most of the topics are interrelated to each other.
A journalism degree helps to a certain extent since it nurtures the writing style of an individual. There are a number of aspects to look at while writing an article or a new piece such as how to write catchy headlines, putting the gist of the story in a strapline, keeping the word count in check and how to quote a person etc. Not to mention, grammar is the most important element while writing an article since a reader will never prefer a copy with grammatical errors.
Moving forward, a journalism course also teaches other skills such as taking interviews, transcribing audios to dealing with audio and visual pieces of equipment for production. It also teaches to use a number of post-production tools such as WordPress, Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop and InDesign to name a few, which are a standard skill requirement by certain media houses but not all. The courses also emphasise on the marks and ethics of journalism.
However, it can be pointed out that a journalism degree is not a necessity. The reason being that most of these tools can be learnt without taking admission to a journalism school. Indeed, a candidate who is likely to pursue a career in journalism must be able to write with flair and clear thoughts for which, journalism course might be a good option. But any candidate with a superior English writing skill is eligible.
A degree in the field of engineering also comes in hand, especially when a candidate is aiming to be a part of enterprise tech journalism media house. A decree of knowledge in subjects like statistics or computer science gives a terrific boost in understanding the latest happenings taking place in the data science space.
Let’s make a point clear that to pursue tech-journalism, it is never a necessity to have a journalism or engineering degree.
Internship with media houses, mostly online ones is the best place to earn hands-on experience of how a tech media house works on a daily basis. From pitching story ideas to taking interviews and working with post-production, there’s a host of new learning that takes place during internship. Pitching story ideas is the most important part of the day since generating good story ideas reflect on how aware a journalist is of his or her surroundings.
Note that internships by media houses are provided for a short period of time, mostly ranging from one to three months. Indeed, the period is short for those who have never had exposure to a newsroom, especially the one dealing with the latest happenings in the tech field, but it is a golden chance for an intern to showcase his or her passion towards learning. For an intern, it is vital to remain curious and ready to take any role. A super active intern who is always up for the task often ends up getting hired.
A candidate who does not possess journalism or technical background can also become a tech journalist with a certain amount of self-learning. To begin with, a pursuer can read up a number of books related to data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence. A number of free eBooks can be found online to learn the basics of data science, which is non-fictional in nature and is a good dose of knowledge. One needs to be constantly updated with technology news because this is the most dynamic aspect of the news, and things are changing constantly.
Next up, podcasts and blogs by Microsoft, Google and other tech giants are a good source of learning, which will also help an aspirant remain updated with the latest developments in the domain. With a little bit of time in hand, one also goes for basic courses in data science that are available as full-time as well as part-time courses. Moving on to software required for post-production, a number of short courses are available through which one can learn InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro and others. Last but not least, seminars, hackathons, conferences are some places one can visit, to have an exposure to the technology community and make connections. Another important source could be YouTube, where a number of personnel post basic videos for amateurs to easily understand certain topics.
The field is vast, and although less explored in the nation, it is still competitive so getting into the industry is not a walk in the park. Technical or journalism background or not, curiosity and determination to learn about the domain is the key. To be a tech journalist, it is very much required to have an interest in technology and a little bit about the business aspect if one wants to pursue the enterprise tech side. When it comes to freshers, recruiters do take a look at how much a candidate is willing to learn and ready to give effort, which seals the deal for many.
For those who are willing to join the tech-media space, click the link to get a chance of writing for Analytics India Magazine, getting a shot for an internship or even becoming a campus ambassador. Last but not least, those who want to explore some of the best journalism school in India can click on the link to get an overview.