How To Get Into Online Journalism: An Interview With Sean Talbot

This week we interviewed Sean about his role as Editor of The Daily Touch and found out some interesting things about what it takes to get to where he is, and how you can too!

What did you study at university?

English Language & Linguistics (don’t ask me how many languages I speak).

Did you always know you wanted to get into journalism?

Not at all. Going into university I was pretty clueless – it wasn’t until I got on board with the student newspaper that I began to realise where I wanted to be. I initially wanted to teach English abroad (like many others) – I even turned down a job in Korea last year.

How did you go about getting work experience?

I got stuck in with the newspaper while at university, then after graduation I started blogging and submitting articles to various websites. There are plenty out there - some better than others - but it’s important to have a reason to write on a regular basis.

How did this experience help you to get where you are now?

I wouldn’t be where I am without it. You need to demonstrate to employers that you can do what you claim. It’s also an important tool to show how interested you are in that sort of work, if you’re writing for free or for your own enjoyment it proves how committed you are.

What skills are most important in your job?

Wow – there are so many. You need a good balance of creativity and level-headedness. One minute you could be writing about how LOL these cats are, the next you’re commenting on how government policies affect students. You need to be versatile with good writing ability, a keen eye for grammar is crucial, and it helps if you’re able to think outside the box.
But everyone in this industry is different – and individuality is probably the most important thing.

How are those skills being developed in your current role?

You’re always developing when in a role like this. When it comes to creative work like writing, there is no end point. You’re forever learning and adapting – you need to or you’ll be left behind!

What’s been the biggest challenge whether on the job hunt or in your current role?

On the job hunt, the biggest challenge was staying motivated and having patience. Roles like this don’t come up that often – which is why you need to be prepared for when they do. Keep one eye on your grammar and the other on jobs boards.

Where do you see the future of journalism?

People always say things like, “everyone these days has a small attention span” or “the internet is killing journalism,” and those people are only kidding themselves. What they really mean is, “why isn’t anyone engaging with my 5,000 word article on austerity?” and “the internet is a more reliable source of non-biased, rhetoric-free journalism – damn it!”
It’s also important not to let your sentiments for print journalism get in the way of what’s important. Make your content good and easily accessible and you’ll always have an audience – and right now, that means online.
People are busy and they just want the facts – this is what online publications are able to provide, and why everyone sees them as such a threat.
And don’t get me started on how The Times charge people to read their website.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

At a company that embraces the future; that isn’t afraid to try new things and create new norms. Right now that company is

​Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists?

All experience is good, but decide what it is you want to do before you set out. If you want to write for an online publication then you should probably

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