A large part of being a multiplatform journalist today is developing one’s personal brand. What does this mean? In short, I think this means that people know you for you and your work first, not the company you work for. Having a personal brand manifests itself in variety of ways. Some good ones are listed in this article by Mindy McAdams. She gives some technical tips like making sure your resume can be viewed from different devices, but she also makes some good theoretical points. An indication that you have become established with a personal brand is that people in your field know who you are and you have a reputation as having done good, ethical journalism. Something I would add that I think is even more relevant to MPJ is that you need to have a distinctive style to your journalism. With the increasing amount of media on which journalism is performed, this shouldn’t be too hard to establish. In light of this, if your work looks and sound stylistically like someone else, it’s probably not a good thing.
One journalist who has established a personal brand is Steve Buttry, who also has written about personal branding. His thoughts echo some of the things already said here in his piece “Confessions (strategies) of a branded journalist (or a journalist with a reputation, if you prefer)”. One point that he makes which I think is important is that you need to be authentic with your branding. Deliberate self-promotion is probably uncomfortable for many people. I know it is for me. But you have to be honest without selling yourself shot.
For me going forward, a personal brand starts with what I do with this blog. I am currently formatting it to be a place where I can house links to the work that I have done while I’ve been at school. So far my writing for the UNews Sports section has focused on the less-popular sports. I’m finding that I like the work a lot and I am trying to develop a niche there. I would like to develop expertise in linking various media together and presenting them in an accessible way for all devices. This I think is a good skill to learn for sports journalism and will go a long way toward establishing my personal brand.