Searching for a journalism career? Fascinated by exclusive news stories, VIP access, meeting famous people, and celebrities? Perhaps you need to stop dreaming about opportunities to rise and instead believing that one day that fantasy will come true. This seemingly exciting job only comes to those who jump up to their feet and create those opportunities; car salesmen and estate agents have nothing on the shark-like behaviour needed to cut it in this field. So, assuming you are at school or university and want a successful career in journalism, the biggest question which might be haunting you is what next? In this article, I would like to concentrate on the small steps, which, however irrelevant they may sound, but are massively important in your quest to becoming a good journalist.
Being a journalist isn’t easy, however, a positive attitude and mental strength is all that you need. Journalism is something which comes naturally, it is not something which one can learn with time. Yes, you might be able to polish some of the key skills like command over the language or with time you may also learn to pick meaningful stories, however, the inner confidence and a zeal to succeed is something which cannot be taught to anyone. Students, easily forget a fact that only a strong foundation is key to a sound and stable tower. Let us see, apart from the degree and other prerequisite what all constitute a good journalist. (Click here to read about the scope of journalism)
How to become a good journalist?
Start small but somewhere
Become involved with your institution’s newsletters and other journalistic publications. This will provide you with valuable experience in writing, editing, designing, negotiating with printers and publishers, and striking deals with the advertisers. However, if you do not wish to work for your institute’s publication and want to do something different and unique, why not start your own. It will look impressive on your CV and is a fantastic way to learn the ins and outs of running a publication. Plus, having published articles provides a huge boost to your career.
In a world of computers, working on an online publication is equally beneficial, whether for your institute’s publication website or another. The familiarity with using SEO (search engine optimisation), and using publishing platforms, such as WordPress, goes a long way. Nonetheless, online media still is not taken very seriously in respectable journalistic circles so try having your name published in print media.
Journalism does only relate to the written word; radio, online podcasts, and ever-present television are another fantastic way to become a successful journalist. Added to that, you are invited backstage to live music performances, for instance, discuss ideas with experts from various fields. Behind the camera, your skills will be appreciated too; skills in video creation, editing, and so on are valued hugely by employers, fuelled by the demand that content in text is less in demand – a quick look on the popularity of kitten videos tells its own story.
Being a newspaper hack comes with its own set of requirements: many top mass comm. institutes, for instance, place high value on energy, enthusiasm, flair, imagination, analytical skills, intellectual curiosity, and a certain amount of cynicism towards taking things at their face value. Commitment towards journalistic career needs to be demonstrated by your records of work and not mere words. Eventually, there is no shortcut to becoming a good journalist, it is through hard work, perseverance, and right mix of skills that a person can excel in their chosen field. Producing your own publications or becoming involved in small publications will set you on the right path.