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MMX15 attendees take notes at a workshop Friday afternoon. (Photo: Dianne Hawker)


Jay Z once said, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!”

Social media trainer Gus Silber used this quote at his MMX15 workshop Friday afternoon to explain the importance of branding for journalists. His workshop offered several small but important lessons about how one builds this kind of personal brand.

Journalists should not involve themselves in the story or become the story itself, he said, but they still need to brand themselves. He emphasised the importance of journalists using social media. In the cyberspace, he pointed out, traditional journalistic jargon has changed — readers are now users, stories are content and reporters are producers and news has become a commodity used by journalists to brand themselves.

The perfect equation for a journalist to properly brand themselves consists of this — a name, reputation, voice and presence. Of these, reputation will always be the most important. On social media, your reputation is rooted in your authority, trust and credibility. There are a few ways to build your brand as a journalist on social media, One particularly valuable one is to establish your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) based on your areas of interest and expertise. It is also advisable to always be thinking and linking and to be as interesting as you are interested on social media.

-Dineo Phoshoko and Keneiloe Kotlolo, MMX15 Student Newsroom // University of Johannesburg