Getting noticed is a pretty universal challenge for aspiring journalists. We’re hardly helped, however, by a herd mentality; we were told to blog, and now we all blog, whilst all competing for attention in 140 characters on Twitter. We need a new way to exhibit our journalism, and this is where Flipboard comes in.
Flipboard was originally an iPad app that clipped articles, pictures, tweets and all sorts of other content from the internet to create a virtual ‘magazine’. Furthermore it’s personalised; you add sources for Flipboard to use, such as a favourite blog or YouTube channel, and the app will build a magazine out of them, which constantly updates to include new additions. What you get looks almost like a real magazine, with pictures and text nicely balanced over multiple pages.
However the release of Flipboard 2.0 earlier this year has turned what was hitherto a geeky curiosity into a potential tool for journalists. Now you are able to share the personalised ‘magazines’ you’ve created with the world, not only on iPad, but on standard internet browsers.
So why not make a magazine that shows the best examples of your journalism?
We’ve all got content on the web which sadly, is little viewed, whether on the website of student newspapers, our blogs or Flickr collections. Flipboard allows us to unify all these, and those of other aspiring journalists, under a single banner, a single hyperlink to put on your Twitter profile or CV. It’s like a portfolio of your cut-outs, except it works for all platforms.
Flipboard also allows journalists to collaborate. You could share magazines created by groups of friends; i.e. ‘Class of 2013’, or those that reflect a common interest, such as ‘London Environmental Reporting’. These magazines can be truly cross platform, including video and audio in addition to pictures and text. By pooling resources, you could potentially increase readership and viewing figures, and getting your name out there.
It’s not only individuals who use Flipboard. In fact, mastering Flipboard could land you a job; earlier this year both The Guardian and The Telegraph partnered with the company to release editions complied specially for the app. Additionally the Financial Times and New York Times, usually behind paywalls, are offering some content for free on Flipboard, whilst efforts are being made to integrate adverts into magazines, monetising the service. Similar services are springing up, like Paper.li, which creates an online newspaper of collected content, whilst allowing the editing capabilities you’d expect from a blog.
‘Social magazines’ like Flipboard are only just beginning to get the attention given to Twitter; the app boasts a figure of 50 million readers, although this is disputed. Now is the time for savvy wannabe journalists to embrace this new technology, and get the attention they deserve.
Want to create your own social magazine? See the guide below:
Get the Flipboard app. You’ll need an iOS or Android device to do this. Use the search bar to find and follow your twitter account, and blog/YouTube channel etc.
Look for the ‘+’ button (usually in the corner) to add a specific item (like a video, or single tweet) to your magazine. The app will then prompt you to select a name and description for your magazine.
You can also add items directly from standard web browsers, via a bookmarks button – see the Flipboard website for details
Find your magazine using the red ribbon in the top right-hand corner of the app homepage. Whilst looking at the front cover of your magazine, select the ‘Invite contributors’ button to email potential contributors.
Sam Richardson is a journalism student at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is former deputy editor of the Oxford Student and has interned with the BBC, Islington Gazette, The Times and Telegraph. Find his work on Flipboard here