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How to succeed as a Digital Journalist, retain your sanity and cure "Digital Journalitis"

By Viga Boland     Mar 6, 2007 in
Are you suffering from "Digital Journalitis"? Learn to recognize the signs while discovering how to succeed at DJ and remaining sane with this slightly tongue-in-cheek, but realistic approach to being a Digital Journalist.
Let's face it: anything worth having in life doesn't come easily. It takes effort, time, motivation and dedication.
After 3 months at DJ watching who makes the top 5, who gets the most votes, which articles get the most reaction and which don't, I've drawn up a list of items Digital Journalists need to both succeed here and stay sane while doing so.
Feel free to agree, disagree or add your own to this list. But before you get to that, consider this:
Why are you even reading this article and all the rest at DJ?
a) because you love to write
b) because you like the community
c) because you like being at the top of the list
d) because you like earning money
e) because you have nothing better to do
f) because you have a lot of time on your hands
g) because you don't have a job
h) because any income is better than no income
i) all or some of the above
j) none or some of the above
Once you've examined those choices and been really honest with yourself (is that possible?) you can determine how much you value success at DJ over your sanity. If your SANITY matters less than SUCCESS, then here's 10 commandments to help you succeed:
1) Spend most of your waking hours here
2) Spend most of your time not here finding articles to post here
3) Post lots of articles daily
4) Visit as many articles as you can fit in between posting to comment and vote
5) Don't get upset if your well-thought out articles get buried under the deluge; you have many more coming :))
6) Email your friends here to let them know you've posted something that might interest them
7) Spend a day studying what time most people post, when most people comment and make sure you post when most aren't posting but many are reading the posts and commenting on them. NOTE: read that last part again to make sure you're not confused.
8) Be sure to post at least one or two articles a day with shock value: crime, sex, pedophiles. Or concentrate on celebrity gossip. These are guaranteed to bring comments and votes.
9) Avoid really lengthy articles: even newspaper editorials that take a whole page cause the reader to start scanning after the first few paragraphs. Staring at print on a screen, lots of paragraphs without breaks etc. is tantamount to making your reader go read something else!
10) Practise your typing skills. Get yourself up to the fastest speed possible so you can post the article before the next person. One finger typists watch out. There's always someone posting the story before you!
How are we doing? Did I lose you yet by breaking the commandments above i.e. long post? Let's hope not. Here's the last bit for those who value SANITY over SUCCESS
1) If you're on here all day, take frequent breaks; better yet, try to discipline yourself to visiting only a couple of times a day.
2) If you're feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep up the pace here, take time off. Take a few days off. We'll all still be here when you come back. After all, is it really that important to be in the top 5?
3) If your spouse is getting antsy about all the time you're spending at DJ and your kids would like you to read them a story or play a game, or you know deep inside that you're not getting important things done in the other parts of your life, or your head is throbbing from hours in front of the screen and you can't sleep at night thinking how much longer you can keep this up, recognize and admit that you have digital journalitis, a rather common addiction on this site.
Well this is long and I hope I haven't wasted this last half hour writing all this only to have it buried by a flood of other posts 'cause my timing's lousy or my typing's too slow or because I really took a lot of effort to think this through. I hope some of you will find it useful.
Have a great day. I'm off to do other important things now in my efforts to control my addiction :))
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