From Traditional News to Niche Journalism

by - November 07, 2018

This was the first election day in nine years I didn't cover. Instead, I spent the day working in my home office on the December issue of Wiregrass Parents. When I first made the switch from traditional news to this niche of journalism, I seriously considered rebranding this blog and removing the word journalist from all of my public bios. In the end I decided to keep the moniker I worked so hard to earn, but it did get me to thinking about the importance of different types of journalism.

One of the things I've learned over the years is that everyone's interpretation of news differs depending on where they live, what's happening at the moment, and their own interests. There are very few people out there who care about all news, myself included. I rarely watch the news on television, and I certainly don't read every article in a newspaper or magazine. Instead, I filter my news and only read or watch what I'm interested in learning more about, things like parenting trends, pediatrician recommendations, what's happening in our local school system, the sports teams I follow, and my guilty pleasure - entertainment news. I suspect many of you consume news in the same way.

When I first decided I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to work for a newspaper, but I didn't want to be a reporter. I wanted to be an editor; specifically I wanted to be the layout editor. When I went to college, I focused on features and more in-depth stories, and decided I wanted to work for a magazine. When I graduated, I applied for jobs in specific niches including layout, sports, and lifestyles. None of that worked out obviously, and I ended up working for a television news station doing traditional news for nine years. Now, I'm back to what I originally wanted to do with my journalism career.

Just because I'm no longer writing stories about daily news doesn't make me any less of a journalist. Being a journalist is about presenting relevant information to a specific audience. In my case, instead of using my skills to deliver daily news to a broad audience that could include literally anyone, I'm hyper-focused on parenting news. It's no different than ESPN only doing sports or Forbes only reporting business news. By zeroing in on a specific audience, we don't have to worry about alienating a dozen people who don't care about parenting issues. And for the most part, those journalists who work in a specific niche have qualifications beyond the basic skill set and are actually interested in what they're covering.

So, yes, I still consider myself a journalist. I still research topics, fact-check, gather information, and compile it in a way that makes sense to my readers. I don't report on crime or sports or politics, but I am providing a much-needed resource for parents in the Wiregrass. The focus of my calling may have shifted, but the results are the same and just as rewarding, maybe even more so.

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