On My Own

The time has come to scratch the itch myself.

I was laid off from Brunswick News on boxing day. Newspapers are contracting – it’s not like this is a surprise to me. I do love them. But, this may be for the best.

I have long believed I could rival newspaper wages by taking those same skills out on my own. So, introducing: “Collaborative Content” – a way to provide businesses with the face time they need to build a rapport, and viewers with interesting and entertaining free content. Build on the fundamentals of community reporting, and made possible with the newest advancements in multimedia tech. 

I’m in the process of setting the company up right now. At it’s most basic it is a “video communications” company.

Video can be done at prices that even rival print products. Every organization should be communicating with video, but they’re not, for some reason. So I will help.

I am also creating promotional videos, recording events (weddings, conferences, concerts, etc). And unbundling my services to provide professional portraits, written content, and website/web-presence development.

But what I’m really excited about is “Collaborative Content.”

I love journalism. I think a tremendous amount of good comes from telling and sharing true stories. All the other fundamentals of journalism (accountability, record keeping, investigation) are essential to communities as well. But you need an organization.

I intend to freelance, and maybe work for a progressive organization again in the future. But for now, I want to help small companies, and continue improving my skills.

“Collaborative Content” takes all the skills needed for a documentary, or television news story, but maintains an angle beneficial for the organization. The key is serialized content, which can be pushed through social media at regular intervals. Think: cooking tips with local restaurant, seasonal tips with a mechanic, real-estate trends with a real-estate agent, a standard “streeter” outside of a local multi-product retailer.

All the elements are there, but the angle is not journalistic.

After pursuing journalism for the last five years, it’s a bit of a strange road to head down.

I’ll save my thoughts about the state of the newspaper industry for a blog post, but the gist is – it’s rough. Wages are low,  and demands are high. Quality suffers when quantity is the only measurable metric, and it really is a dark time for newspapers.

But not journalism! I honestly thought multi-media, web-first approaches would be dominating by now, but traditions change slowly.

I still want to be a journalist more than anything. And I still think small community reporting is a valuable – and under appreciated – career. But the newspaper is a hard place to do it.

So I have no choice but to finally learn the freelancing game. I think I’ve found a way to support it.

By simply repositioning my skills, filing an obvious need for smaller organizations, and finally truly focusing on digital storytelling, I think I provide products of value. I continue to develop my skills, and in a way, I still help out the community. That works for me.

Honestly, it’s exciting. It’s not the news, but it’s in the same ballpark. Or at least on the same street…

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