Saturday, 2 October 2010

A book a week in 2010: Next Generation Journalist by Adam Westbrook

Adam Westbrook is in his own words "a multimedia storyteller, journalist, author and lecturer."

I watched as he gave an articulate and compelling presentation on a panel at the news:rewired conference in January.

He showed an audio slide show telling the story of John Hirst, a man who killed his landlady. It remains one of the most powerful pieces of storytelling I've seen.

Audio Slideshow: Hirst v. UK from Adam Westbrook on Vimeo.

Adam made it seem as though anything is possible in multimedia. I wanted to know more, so followed him on Twitter, and discovered he self-publishes too. As a book publisher, this piqued my interest further. He produces e-books as well? So this is what a one-man publishing industry looks like.

I've bought two so far - both out of interest for work (I cover publishing and journalism for Skillset). The first - News Gathering for Hyperlocal Websites - is on my 'to blog' pile. The second - Next Generation Journalist - is covered here.

In Westbrook's view, a 'next generation journalist' is one who works alone or in collaboration. They are entrepreneurs. They won't sit about worrying where the next commission will come from. They get out there and make their own destiny.

In this world you build a portfolio career: spreading your risk across a variety of sectors, platforms and interests. You work with for- and not-for-profit organisations. You use the web to profile and market yourself to different clients and communities. You use words, sounds, images and video: whatever helps tell the story best for its audience.

Westbrook believes people are prepared to pay for services or information from someone with in-depth knowledge and curatorial skills. Chapter after chapter provides tips, ideas and inspiration for different ways to do this. This may involve aggregating content. It may include hyperlocal websites. You may choose a journalism niche or become an 'infopreneur' (don't groan, it really makes sense when you read it).

This book is totally refreshing. It's a handbook on how to make money from the skills and passion you have, and I loved it. It should be on the reading list of every journalism course in the country.

Buy Next Generation Journalist
Follow Adam on Twitter
Hear him lecture at Kingston University
See more of his work

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