David Cohn has posted a great series of interviews with several media innovators over at his blog. But there is one particular piece of advice from Cohn’s interview with Adrian Holovaty (4:15 in) that I think needs to be heard by both aspiring journalists and seasoned professionals, no matter what their level of multimedia skill:
“Do a side project. Pick something that you’re passionate about and make a web site about it. […] And make it something you actually care about so that you’ll have the incentive to do a good job.”
Video interview is here:
[Video by David Cohn]
For Holovaty, a passion project like ChicagoCrime.org led to international recognition. For me, building a simple six-page web site in college for the Hispanic Student Association (a Python guru, I am not) led to the beginning of my online media career, as well as meeting some of my favorite Latin recording artists, many new friends and –last but most assuredly not least– my lovely wife. See? Passion projects can even lead to finding true love.
In the end, the knowledge you gain from creating your own site around your passion is something that cannot be acquired by working at a large media site or sitting in a journalism classroom.
So what’s your project? Or what’s it going to be?