I have searched far and wide for blogs on how to get into journalism.
This is no disrespect to bloggers but I’m talking specifically about a traditional method of journalism; print. I have seen a thousand and one blogs on how to make money from your blog and how to make money from home which is fantastic but if you are anything like me and like the security of having your holidays paid for, sickness days sorted but still want to write…then you have come to the right place.
I have come up with a ten step plan to help you get ahead in print journalism.
Step One : Take yourself seriously.
If print journalism is something you are really passionate about then make sure you take the necessary steps to prove to yourself and to potential employees that you are serious about this subject. Read books on print journalism and make sure you have a good knowledge. I recommend “The Journalist’s Handbook” by Kim Fletcher.
It’s a really inspiring read. Also you can take a course or educate yourself online and make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself in for. Print journalism is not a stress and care free job and it takes a lot if will power and determination to even get into the field let alone stay there.
Step Two: Cultivate an interest in current affairs
Oh you hate watching the news? Well hate to be the one to tell you this but half of the news that is reproduced by newspapers is just that. REPRODUCED. you have to watch the news, listen to the radio, trawl the internet and generally be an informed person. You should be watching the news ideally once a day, and making sure you are up to date with all public and current affairs.
Step Three: Leave your comfort zone
Speak to people you don’t know or join a class to find more friends and generally become a more informed and more rounded person. Journalists need to be friendly , approachable and easy to talk to so why not get some practise in?\
Step Four: Get some Contacts.
That old saying “It’s not what you know it’s who you know” is one of the most important things you will learn as journalist. I cannot stress enough that you need to make sure you have an address book or a way of logging peoples information. I’m talking about everyone you meet! Make sure you get a number or an email and log it because you never know when you will need a quote from someone in a certain field.
Step Five: Get a blog.
Make sure you don’t lose sight of what you want to do…write. Blogs are a great way to link to other people too. You have the whole of the internet at your fingers and it is a greatly of showcasing what you can do writing wise too. Interviews love to see portfolios and even better if your portfolio is a digital one.
Step Six: Learn to gather material.
So it’s not just about speaking to people on the street, it’s about speaking to people relevant to your story. A news story in it’s most basic terms is; Go out into the world, find something newsworthy, capture it and publish it. But make sure the information in-between those steps is both relevant, true informative and entertaining.
Step Seven: Brush up your writing skills.
Surely it goes without saying but newspapers will only be hiring people who are able to write well. It would be beneficial to take a course and learn the format of a newspaper article. If you have not gone to university to study it, try and fine a distant learning course than can teach you this.
Make sure you check for silly things like spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
Step Eight: Gain Work Experience
Start with something modest. if you are at school, the school paper. College or university, your local paper. Older than that… definitely your local paper! Why have you not tried there sooner? In journalism it’s all about working your way up and there is nothing wrong with that. It makes you value your job more.
Step Nine: Build a Portfolio.
Work experience plus your blog means you will have a pretty hefty portfolio. Make sure you showcase your best work and nothing that may come off as mediocre. Your portfolio should show the type of journalist you are and who you want to be. Pick out pieces with a by line or blogs you had a lot of hits on.
Step Ten: Find paid work.
This means spamming all networks possible, or it did for me. I used websites such as holdthefrontpage.co.uk or indeed if you search for the right thing. The main tip I can give you here is: when you get interviews to make sure portfolio is professional and make sure the real you shows through. They want to see that you are a nice friendly person that they can trust to be the face of the paper.
I hope that was helpful to anyone who wanted any advice. If anyone has anymore questions please leave a comment below.