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Thriving Online Groups For Journalists

There are a wealth of resources online, some more active than others. We’ve compiled a list of groups we love for their enthusiastic members, participation and community camaraderie.

Most of our groups tend to revolve around an industry niche; overly broad topics don’t always work well in encouraging a lot of discussion. However, there is something here for everybody to benefit from.

This is far from an exhaustive list. We’ve left most groups we know of out, and you can find longer lists here and here, though some groups are more dormant than others.

As always, the major rules of each group are common sense. Play nice. Help the other members. And what happens in the social media group stays in the social media group.

Facebook

Ah, Facebook. For many journalists, the platform is as much about work as about play, and the centre of discussions on the dilemmas facing modern journalism. The groups, however, are one way Facebook undoubtedly can work in our favour.

Out of the Binders: Exclusively for women and gender non-conforming writers. Established with the sole purpose of tackling under-representation of women in media, and so it covers a range of writing: book publishing, entertainment, journalism, poetry, etc. It’s very large, but very supportive, and has an annual conference in New York City.

Freelance Journalists UK: The United Kingdom has an amazing array of publications, and if you’re keen on working with the editors and writers on that side of the pond, this group wants to help.

The group stays true to its name and is very region-specific, which contributes to its efficacy; not the place to go for general global journalism chat, or if you’re not serious about actively working in the UK media world. However, for those who are, you won’t find a smarter or more resourceful set of peers online. Note: There is a vetting process for entry. If it’s not apparent from your facebook profile that you’re a journalist, you may not be approved by admin.

Minorities in Digital Media: One of our newer communities, but very much needed! Posting fellowships, jobs and general encouragement to minority media workers. They even had their first offline mixer recently (New York-based).

As a note, you do have to be a member of an underrepresented group in media to sign up. (If you like this, check out Writers of Color on twitter too.)

Create Your Nomadtopia: Important to note that this isn’t a writer’s group, and you shouldn’t sign up if you’re looking for advice on the practice of journalism itself. Rather, it offers advice and support for location-independent living.

As freelancers, we can often be stuck when it comes to the logistical problems of chasing stories; where can we live affordably? What’s the best health insurance? How on earth do we manage banking while we’re there? Various nomadic professionals have banded together to answer all the small, but crucial details that crop up during life on the road.

This isn’t the group to go to further your writing career, but it is an invaluable resource for planning your life around a job that assumes your office is the world.

Slack

For those of you who don’t know about Slack, it is a powerful messaging application that has quickly become a fixture in media companies worldwide. It also allows free communities; all you need to do is ask for an invite and then log in with your e-mail. There are a number of journalism slacks, but we’ve found two to be particularly active.

Digital Journalism Rocks: This is the most active slack community (and perhaps most active community overall) that we’ve seen. As its name suggests, it revolves around the practice of digital journalism, with channels like audience development, data visualization and mobile reporting. If you’re passionate about modern journalism (and giphy), these are your people. (Note: application process to be invited.)

Open Data Community: Not strictly a journalism group. Rather, this is a watering hole for anyone who works in data: research, analysis, tools, sources, etc.

Data journalism is becoming more and more relevant, especially as our capacity to create and deploy visualizations grows. Yet anyone who works in the field knows it isn’t quite as easy as looking up numbers on a report, plugging them into an excel file and making a pie chart. Anyone interested in data journalism and how much you can do with it can get a lot out of this community. (Fair warning: it can get pretty technical).

Twitter

For all the talk about Twitter’s troubles, it is still a hub for journalists. Here, you can pitch, chat, follow and promote more easily and often than any other social medium, without being obnoxious.

One under-used aspect of Twitter is searching tags. If you’re curious about journalism, #journalism, #journo, #journalists, #journalist, #journojobs are all obvious and popular go-tos. However, chats are a great way to engage other members on twitter, and get those sought-after @’s from notable media figures.

#wjchat: 17:00 (5 pm) PT, wjchat (short for web journalism chat) tackles all things “content, technology, ethics and business of journalism on the web.’

#MuckRackCafe is a good stand-in as the popular #muckedup is on hiatus. A monthly 30 minute Q&A with a journalist.

#commschat started as a European based dialogue, and covers communications overall — that means PR and marketing too. However, it’s still relevant, and you can log on for live discussion on Mondays at 20:00 (8 pm) GMT.

Also, good tags to keep your eye on: #digitaljournalism, #digitalnews, #digitalmedia, #journchat, #mediadiversity, #ddj (data driven journalism).

Honorable mention: If you’re thinking of leaving journalism (we’re sad to see you go!), What’s Your Plan B? is a group of folks who are also tackling life off the fourth estate.

Did we miss anything? Let us know at yourintern@hackpack.press.

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