Eat, sleep, Zoom, repeat – as pandemic life continues, many aspiring journalists may be wondering how to break out of the cycle and how to network during lockdown.
Do not give up hope! We have more access to technology and ways to stay connected than ever before, and you should not let the pandemic get in the way of kickstarting your dream career.
You can start networking by simply emailing editors and journalists you admire. Flattery can go a long way – when you like someone’s work, tell them what you like about it and it may just start a conversation with a great contact in the industry.
Social media is where many aspiring journalists make their first journalism connections! Build up your social media presence, share your work and follow and engage with editors and journalists. You can find most journalists on Twitter, but don’t be afraid to venture to other platforms such as Instagram and TikTok too.
View this post on Instagram
Online communities can be an excellent way to network during lockdown and find people who are at a similar career stage to you. Join online communities such as the Young Journalist Community on Facebook and you can gain advice from others, share and discuss your experiences and even find collaborators or sources for stories.
Okay, we’re all a bit sick of Zoom – but there are so many great online workshops and webinars out there for you take advantage of. You could make new contacts and learn about new skills or areas of journalism you’d never considered before. At The School of Journalism we have loads of free workshops which you can sign up for here.
Networking isn’t just about having one-off conversations, it’s about forging lasting and mutually beneficial relationships in the industry. Remember to occasionally check in with previous contacts, whether they are people you’ve worked with or editors you’ve done placements with before – you never know what new opportunities may arise.
— School of Journalism (@TheJournoSchool) February 5, 2021
Signing up to newsletters can help you stay in the loop with what’s going on in the industry, as well as alerting you to upcoming events, freelance opportunities and jobs. Check out our blog on the best journalism newsletters to subscribe to.
A great way to network during lockdown is to pitch your ideas to editors. Try pitching to some smaller publications as well as national newspapers, as you may find that their editors have more time to give constructive feedback on your pitches and articles.
Once you’ve successfully pitched an idea, make sure to save the contacts of the people you worked with and you never know – they may want to commission you again! Check out our blog on the best places to pitch for aspiring journalists.
Share and support
Last but not least, remember to be proud of your work and share it so others can read it. Although journalism can have a reputation for being a cut-throat industry, the reality is that sharing resources and supporting others can be a stepping stone to creating productive networks and will make you a better journalist in the long run.
If you’re struggling to stay motivated during lockdown, check out this blog featuring advice from journalists across different stages of their careers!