Advice For Aspiring Journalists
So, you want to be a journalist? The person who is on the frontline of the news and reporting to audiences across the globe. Like many students and graduates, aspiring journalists are going to find the job market a tough and competitive one, but we’ve got some advice to make sure you have the skills necessary to succeed in your career.
Put your skills to the test
As an aspiring journalist you will want to perfect your writing and reporting skills in a number of ways. Since there is only so much you can learn during your journalism lectures, get yourself some work experience at a publication or TV channel, it will really add to your CV and you will be able to learn what happens in a real workplace. You don’t have to get your experience at a huge company, you could work at your university radio station, an independent YouTube channel, or a digital magazine (like The SPG, for example). Many employers will want to see a portfolio of work, so having pieces of your work physically printed or online for all to see is something you can bring to the table.
Build your contacts
Every journalist needs contacts, people that you can get information and advice from. Make sure you keep in contact with anyone you meet whilst on work experience. Your university might even offer networking events which you can attend and meet likeminded people. Your lecturers will also be really important people to keep in contact with once you have graduated. The chances are they will have some key relationships which you might be able to get introduced to! If you haven’t already created a LinkedIn account, then this is a must! We all know the power of social media, and LinkedIn is a great platform to allow you to reach out to professionals in the industry.
Keep up to date
We cannot stress enough how important it is to keep up to date with the news, as an aspiring journalist you will need to be on the ball with what is happening in the world around you, otherwise how are you going to report on it accurately? There are really no excuses, as you can access major publications from your smart phone whether that’s through Facebook / Twitter accounts, or through a digital publication. Online publications are also a lot cheaper, for example, The Times have a student membership for only £20 for the whole year! If you’d like more info on the offer you can check it out here: www.thetimes.co.uk.
Decide what you are interested in
Most journalists have a specific topic that they are knowledgeable about and enjoy writing about the most. This could be anything from sports, to finance to fashion – when you write about something you are truly interested in, you’ll find the words just start flowing on to the page. At the same time, when you are starting out, our advice to you would be that you need to be flexible. Employers will want to see you are capable of writing about a range of subjects, and if it is something you don’t know much about, this is where your researching skills will come in handy.
Being able to write shorthand is a key skill for any journalist. It should be something that your degree course is offering as it is a major advantage that employers look for. If your course is not offering this skill, then seriously think about taking evening or weekend classes in shorthand, or even just getting a book out of the library and teach yourself.
We hope our advice for aspiring journalists has helped you out and good luck with your future career in journalism!
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