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Mizzou students Abby Ivory-Ganja and Marlee L. Baldridge are at the Online News Association Conference to cover tech and innovation sessions for RJI. Visit our ONA page to see all the coverage. 

Story by Abby Ivory-Ganja 

 

There are certainly many more traditional career paths in journalism, but the rise of hybrid and innovative careers is on the rise as the industry changes rapidly. At the intersection of editorial, business and product - you’ll find a platypus. Well, maybe not an actual platypus, but a growing group of journalists who call themselves that. 

Platypuses gathered at ONA to share why they’re an asset in newsrooms and advice for creating a path forward in these unique positions.  

Platypus stickers given out by Hannah Birch, of ProPublica, at ONA

 

Skills and strengths

  • An ability to connect the dots is the best advantage a platypus can have
  • Building relationships internally and externally
  • For entrepreneurial types thinking about branching out, solid reporting skills serve well in many business operations, grant writing and development 
  • Being able to understand and talk about the business side of things is an asset for editorial folks 
  • Seeing a problem from multiple angles to be able to come up with new solutions 

Advice 

  • You don’t have to envision your whole career at the beginning or middle to be fulfilled for now.
  • You can pitch your own role to any organization. It’s okay to do something that doesn’t exist yet!
  • Trust that your gifts will make room for you at an organization that values you.
  • Your life experiences bring more to the profession than you’ll ever realize - lean into them fully. 
  • It’s also about having fun. Trust your gut. 
  • Cultivate long term relationships with people and problems that fascinate you. Follow your nose. 
  • There’s no pipeline. It’s an evolution, not a recipe. 

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