Is it worth learning journalistic methods?

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I am considering doing some classes on journalism to improve the quality of my writing and research.
Have any of you done this?
I also think I'll grab some journalism books at least.
There's a lot of focus in online marketing on copywriting, but rarely do I hear about how to do better research, which is very important even if just from a content marketing angle.
 

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That's a very good idea, especially in a time where the profession is being slandered pretty hard from all angles. If nothing else, having a better understanding of the process will help you appreciate the work that great journalists do, and help to better navigate the news and what's going on in the world, which are also beneficial skills for a marketer to have. But most of all, I think it will definitely help to improve your research and writing skills.
 
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If you're interested and you have time to spare, it's totally worth it. Although once you drill your problems down to their core, you might find that a quick Google search + experimentation will yield faster results. As countless examples out there prove, you don't need to be a master copywriter to rank on web.
  • What exactly are you struggling with in research?
  • What do you want to improve about your writing?
Personally, I've learned a lot from re-writing great content. I'm average now, but I used to suck. So whenever I stumbled upon an article that just flowed and kept me reading... I opened Word and started banging it out, word by word. It's a copywriting trick from Gary Halbert's Boron Letters (free).
 

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Improve the quality of your content..? Quality is subjective and really judged by your target audience. If traditional journalism is going bye-bye, it's because the marketplace prefers a different type of content. It's pure capitalism at it's finest, either adapt or die.

I think you should study people within your industry that are doing a killer job at engaging the audience, if you want to make more money faster at least.
 

Boy

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I took a few journalism classes in college and accidentally got a journalism minor.

Not worth it because we don't write the same. Journalism is all about being succinct, factual, and objective.

If you want to take classes for the sake of learning, take copywriting and public relations. Copy for sales and PR for how to pitch journalists for news' organization backlinks.
 
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Been waiting for the 3 posts / 3 likes to click over to add my tuppence ha'penny to this one, as I started out as a print journalist and then news editor.

Firstly, old school (not current) UK journalism was in retrospect a tremendous training for the world of web content. Authority research, pyramid structure, answering questions (who, where, when, what, why, how), no fluff, active voice and simply getting over the hurdle of picking up the freaking phone and talking to a human being who did not have a clue who you were and getting them to give you what you wanted.

These days, I'm not so sure about the whole concept of 'journalism'. There are many probably worthless college and university courses with little prospect of employability in a shrinking market. And much news these days is based on copying other content without even bothering to put your own spin on it.

Nonetheless, if I was looking to pick up tips from journalism these days I would have a look at two UK newspaper sites (just because I am more familiar with them) - both quite successful and at the opposite end of the scale from one another.

The Daily Mail is one of, if not the, most successful transitions from print to online. Personally I loathe style, content and ethos behind it but it is undeniably extremely attractive to its audience - those of you unfamiliar with it, think of a mixture of Fox News and a Hollywood paperazzi tabloid. Always picking up on what's trending in the world of showbiz and TV along with any nipslips they can get away with.

The Guardian, on the other hand, has tried to stay truer to the old-school style of journalism (although undoubtedly more committed and explicit in its beliefs than it once was) - here I would take a look at the long-form stories and some of their data-driven articles (data journalism is a growing market with fabulous opportunities for infographics for those with news sites).

For a classic style of journalism I would maybe look at Reuters stories and, for softer content, take a look at magazines in your niche.

I remember when I was doing my apprenticeship many years ago - our lecturer slapped a copy of The Sun on the desk. 'Look at this,' he said. 'Some of you don't think it deserves to be called a newspaper. But it is designed to be read in a tea-break* and for everyone who reads it to be able to find one headline that they would read to a workmate.' I can't think of a better role model for a website these days than that.

* The working day actually used to include a tea-break when tea-ladies would come around the offices pouring out a cup of coffee or tea from urns on their trolleys.
 
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@ToffeeLa Great input, thanks. I've always looked to Daily Mail for inspiration. I think they're fantastic in getting engagement and even monetizing. They run a very successful "steal this look" gambit, where they do basic celebrity wears what stories, but then find similar outfits and link to them. I've been thinking a lot about how to use this method on my sites.