- What does a journalist do?
- What steps can I take to start my career as a journalist?
- 1. Get a degree from a university
- 2. Hone your writing skills
- 3. Become familiar with interviewing techniques
- 4. Get in touch with reporters, writers, and editors
- 5. Try an internship
- 6. Contribute to reputable publications
- 7. Create an online portfolio
- 8. Be accessible
- How Do You Become a Journalist?
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Journalism offers a fast-paced and exciting work environment that is perfect for those who love telling stories and following current events. The fact that this is such a sought-after title among adventurers, writers, and truth-seekers comes as no surprise.
If you’re considering a career as a journalist, you should be aware of a few things.
What does a journalist do?
You probably think of broadcast reporters when you think of journalists-which is a good thing since these icons and their passion are a big reason why so many of us aspire to be journalists.
Journalism has many faces, but they’re not the only ones. We see these figures every night on the evening news as they are the most visible figures in this field. Nevertheless, journalism’s face is changing in today’s world, where more people get their information from websites, blogs, and social media than from CNN or BBC.
Journalists can be those who write for traditional publications, such as newspapers and magazines; those who chase storms or attend presidential press conferences, then report their findings to the camera; or freelance journalists who write online for emerging news sites.
It’s the job of journalists to present the facts and tell stories to give the audience the ability to form their opinions and make decisions.
The work involves more than just looking good in front of the camera and stamping your name on an article: journalists conduct extensive research, write in-depth articles, do fact-checking, include interview subjects in their stories, and always keep an eye out for the next story.
What steps can I take to start my career as a journalist?
Here are eight tips that will help you succeed in your future as a journalist.
1. Get a degree from a university
Earning a degree is the first step toward your journalism career path. It does not matter if you are already a graduate and didn’t major in journalism–you can still find success.
Communications, English, Media, and Publishing are some related fields that can help you get into the journalism industry. If you have a natural talent for writing, apply to the writing department in the field in which you earned your degree.
You could also consider double majoring or taking on a minor if you are interested in writing more about a specific topic (for example, double majoring in political science and communication or studying journalism with a minor in international affairs).
2. Hone your writing skills
While a degree in journalism is essential, it is not a panacea. You will need to develop your writing and reporting skills to become a successful journalist.
Start by exploring several issues within your society or community and write about them. Writing on various subjects is an excellent way to practice, establish your writing voice, and build your brand. In case of an interesting story, consider interviewing the people around town to practice communication skills.
3. Become familiar with interviewing techniques
Your ability to think critically and ask good questions will also come under scrutiny as a journalist. Watch interviews with the top journalists in the industry and notice how they work. Observe and use their strategies while interviewing your sources.
4. Get in touch with reporters, writers, and editors
Being able to break into a new industry is largely dependent on knowing the right people. Start contacting relevant media figures in the industry right from the beginning. However, beware of crossing a line. Instead of invading a reporting scene, try polite and professional methods. Email your favorite reporters or newspaper editors, tell them about your career goals, and ask about their startup experience.
When you’re just starting, it might be easier to contact someone at a local newspaper or radio station. Talk with local journalists and respectfully ask them to spare a few minutes for a chat. If you have the chance to speak with them in person, you can also ask them for their advice.
5. Try an internship
Internships are another excellent way to make connections. If you intern for a newspaper, magazine, or media company, you will gain invaluable experience and see what a journalist does on a daily basis.
In an era when a growing number of publications are digital, budding reporters have many options to get started by writing
Recent graduates and those new to the industry can benefit from an internship. Even if the income is low, you get the chance to make connections and learn new skills.Journalism offers a fast-paced and exciting work environment that is perfect for those who love telling stories and following current events.Click To Tweet
6. Contribute to reputable publications
Get your name in a few more prominent and established publications to gain recognition. Though it might not be easy, it is certainly possible. One just has to be persistent and think strategically.
Analyze your strengths and areas of expertise or passion. Search for publications with interests aligned with yours that would be interested in your story ideas.
Send an email pitching your story to the editor of the section you would be writing for (usually the editor in charge of that section). You shouldn’t be scared to follow up (politely). However, you should also know when to switch up your strategy or pitch new ideas.
7. Create an online portfolio
Build a digital portfolio of articles you have written and interviews you have conducted.
These will serve as a record of your professional work and as references for prospective employers and publications you are interested in writing for.
8. Be accessible
If you plan to become a news journalist, you’ll have to learn to cover breaking news, which means working some odd hours.
As you begin writing for a few publications, assuming you do a good job, you may be asked to cover last-minute assignments.
Make yourself available every time you can. If you need to cover any breaking assignments, send emails to editors at larger publications (with samples of your work). There are so many opportunities to cover breaking stories!
How Do You Become a Journalist?
The key to your success as a journalist lies largely in your ability to write or report. There are, however, a few key factors that can make a difference.
A journalist should be able to:
- Possess some media experience (work or internship)
- Exhibits excellent written and oral communication skills
- Is capable of asking tough questions
- Can write on a variety of topics
- Can research and investigate a variety of topics
- Is flexible about working odd hours and traveling to cover a story
As a journalist, you can face many challenges, but you’ll also experience great rewards. Consider getting into the journalism field by following the steps above. It can be an extremely rewarding career path if you’re passionate about uncovering hushed topics, educating people about important issues, and sharing stories with the world.