The pandemic may have created a great need for quality journalism but it has also rocked journalism's economic model, and the world economy at large. Therefore, the wave of layoffs that has plagued most industries has also struck the media world.
If, like thousands of journalists, you've now lost your job because of the pandemic, here are a few ways you can still further your career despite the crisis. Losing your job has a silver lining: newfound time. You can now use this difficult period to do the things that usually get left out of your daily routine.
(1) Submit your work for a journalism prize
Getting recognition from your peers is an unparalleled experience for any journalist. Applying for a journalism prize takes time and must be done with care. Many people apply and competition is fierce, but this transition period is the perfect opportunity to get it done. For example, TRT World Citizen will recognize visual works that highlight frontline workers in the pandemic. In Brazil, the International Committee of the Red Cross will award the best examples of humanitarian reporting. And in East Africa, photojournalists can submit their work to the Uganda Press Photo Award. Now's the time to grab these opportunities if you haven't already. Some organizations have also created new awards to recognize the work of journalists covering the pandemic.
(2) Learn more on journalism and the pandemic
Covering the pandemic presents unprecedented challenges, in technical, scientific and political terms. Gathering knowledge from professionals in those fields can be a valuable investment for your work — present or future. IJNet frequently organizes webinars to help you get the tools you need to cover the pandemic and find new angles to explore. ICFJ, IJNet's parent organization, has published more than 250 articles on the pandemic to date. For example, you can learn more about different styles of journalism, such as impact journalism or discover a list of the words you need to know in these times of crisis.
(3) Go freelance
The freelance lifestyle isn't for everyone but strong portfolios contain clips from multiple media organizations. The pandemic has increased the need for information, so now's the time to get published internationally. Don't be afraid to take the road less traveled and seek out specialized media on subjects that interest you. If you don't know where to start, you can learn how to pitch story ideas to news organizations. IJNet also regularly posts calls for pitches from commissioning organizations on the hunt for freelancers.
(4) Learn new skills
Have you been dreaming of starting your own podcast or always wanted to become a video journalist? There's no time like the present. These days, being successful in journalism is about more than writing beautiful prose. Some technical skills are in high demand, so take advantage of this time to learn some of them. If you don’t know where to start, simply head over to the toolkit section of IJNet. For example, you'll find information to help you build your own news startup or tips for making your audio stand out. .
(5) Apply for grants, fellowships or emergency funding
One way to help further your career when looking for a job may be to return to school or receive a grant for a new project. Women journalists can apply for grants to support reporting projects or professional development opportunities. African writers can apply for funding to work on nonfiction and fiction projects. In Brazil, grants are available for reporting projects on public health. In North America, the Society of Professional Journalists has launched an emergency fund for journalists in need. Follow IJNet to get weekly access to job and funding opportunities.
Main image CC-licensed by Unsplash via WOC in tech chat.