A career in journalism can be exciting, and quite often, you can guarantee that no two days will be the same. For example, one day, you may get the opportunity to report a breaking news story, or the next day you may get to interview an influential business leader.
The great thing about journalism is that it is diverse. It opens up lots of doors and windows from people all across the country and even across the world.
13 Tips For Pursuing A Bright Career In Journalism
Good quality journalism can make a statement, and it can even influence/win over people. So, have you got what it takes to be a journalist, and have you got what it takes to make a vibrant career in journalism?
1. Deciding Which Route You Want to Follow
Before you do anything else, you have to decide what route you want to follow. You know that you want to go into journalism, but have you decided what area you will focus on yet?
For example, will you focus on daily news, or will you focus on sports journalism? Will you be reporting via a live streaming event (perhaps on a social media page), or will you be reporting via traditional print media?
It is important to establish which route you would like to take as this will determine what you do, when, and why.
So, would you like to report on past sporting events, or would you like to report on digital or current affairs? When you know what you would like to pursue, you can then start putting your plan into action.
2. Looking At Digital Journalism
If you have looked at print media journalism and realized it is not for you, then have you thought about internet journalism and digital journalism? Pursuing a refulgent career that is focused and centered around online activities and bases may suit you perfectly.
Digital journalism is a very fast-moving industry to enter, but if you feel confident that you can provide accurate news in real-time, you may just manage to create a career in journalism.
When you look at digital journalism, it is important to think about what you can bring or offer. What angle can you provide, or can you write in a more engaging writer than existing journalists. What is going to make you stand out, and what is going to help you differentiate yourself from the other journalists.
3. Setting Career Goals and Targets
Deciding that you want to be a journalist is one thing; however, making the leap is something entirely different. Being a journalist can be physically and mentally demanding, and because no two days are the same, you may struggle with role stability on offer.
Overcoming these issues is important, and you need to do this to move forwards. Stability within journalism and within the careers sector can be a prickly issue, but if you start focusing on career goals and targets, you can overcome this awkward topic.
Being a freelance journalist or even being employed on a contract can still often leave you feeling confused or unsure, and to overcome this, you need to start setting yourself career goals and career targets and setting out what you want to achieve and by when will give you clarity and a sense of direction.
When you have this direction, you will then have no issue pursuing a career in journalism.
4. The Spotlight is on Your Education
To make a name for yourself within the field of journalism and to be seen as a respected journalist, you have to focus on your education. Investing your time and energy into furthering your education will ensure that you are a journalist who can stand the test of time.
When you focus on your education, you ensure that you are taking control of your future. You are taking control of improving all of those areas of weakness, and you are focusing on improving how you write and the way that you convey your ideas.
There is always something new to learn within journalism, and there is always the opportunity to advance your knowledge and understanding, and this is why education should always be in the spotlight.
If you overlook the importance and value of education when pursuing a career in journalism, then you can struggle to get the recognition you deserve, and you can struggle to achieve success within your career in journalism.
5. Creating a Resume That Has an Impact
Whether you are interested in working for yourself as a freelance journalist or you are looking for an employed role, you will soon realize the importance of your resume. A clear and well-written resume is something you need to be focusing your efforts on.
Within your resume, you should focus on listing all relevant experience and qualifications. Even if you have only undertaken short periods of work experience so far in your new career, it is still vital that you write down what you have achieved.
When you are pitching for a piece of work, or you are going for your first job as a journalist, your resume will be used to establish if you are the right candidate for the job. So, to make sure that you are, you need to produce a resume that gets noticed.
Remember to be honest throughout your career in journalism (bending the truth is not necessary) and ensure that everything you write is clear and easy to read.
6. How Good is Your Reporting
As a journalist, you should have the ability and awareness to report in an effective and efficient manner. If you are unable to report in a way that is engaging to the audience, then this is most certainly something that you want to focus on improving in your career in journalism.
How you communicate with your audience is important and what you say is just as important. If you have seen that your reporting skills are not up to scratch, or if you feel there are always holes or gaps in the stories that you produce, then you should start taking corrective action as soon as possible.
Good, if not excellent, reporting skills help you to tell a story, and they hello you to convey what is happening, where, and why. If your reporting skills are not to the high level that they should be, then you need to take decisive action.
7. Skills You May Want to Improve
To pursue a career in journalism, you will want to focus on your skill-set. You will always have weaker areas of your skill-set that you will want to improve, and now is as good a time as any to start making changes.
For example, if your writing is bland and lackluster, and it is struggling to raise the attention and interest of your audience, then it should be focused on as a top priority. Similarly, if you are struggling with good, clear, and honest communication, then this is something that needs addressing.
Improving your skills and making yourself more marketable to employees should be what you focus on. If you are not improving the skills that you hold, then you are going to be stagnant before your career has had the chance to take off.
8. Gaining Experience
A journalist will often need to start building up their experience to build their credibility, and you will be no different. If you seriously want to pursue a career in journalism, then you need to start focusing your efforts on gaining experience.
Learning how to write and learning how to complete assignments for a wide range of clients should be your key area of focus. When you switch, and you start focusing on gaining experience, you actually open up yourself to new ideas of working and thinking too.
Experience will help you navigate a variety of situations and scenarios, and it will also help you push your new career forwards.
9. Seizing and Grasping Opportunities
While you are gaining experience, it is always valuable to seize and grasp any opportunities that happen to come your way.
For example, you may be offered a voluntary reporting task (which could help improvise your reporting skills). Or you could be asked to work within digital reporting (and this too may be eye-opening), especially if you have only worked over the radio or in print before.
If you do not seize opportunities when pursuing a career in journalism, you will soon find that the skills and attributes you hold are becoming less relevant and useful.
10. Building Your Credibility and Reputation
The reputation that you hold as a journalist can influence the type of work that you are offered and the quality of work that you are offered. It is important to positively build your reputation and credibility from the get-go.
You can, of course, start doing this by honoring your commitments and staying true to your word (this includes meeting all deadlines). It also means being a journalist that is full of integrity and honesty.
If you add something to a story, or if you spin it in a positive manner (to perhaps make it more interesting), then you have to think about the effect this may have.
Always reporting and writing in an honest manner, as well as in a clear tone, will always help you to build a trusted reputation for a career in journalism.
11. Improving Your Writing and Editing Skills
Within your career as a journalist, what you write is just as important as when you write. You have to learn to adapt your writing skills for each story that you follow, and you have to ensure that each piece you write is professionally edited.
For a career in journalism (whether offline or digital), stories can move pretty quickly, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t time for well-written work that is compelling and engaging to read. So, start how you mean to go on and always focus on improving (and strengthening) your writing skills as much as you possibly can.
12. The Importance of Networking
As you are getting started in the world of journalism, you will soon realize the importance and value of networking. Sometimes who you know is just as important as what you know.
Building a strong network of other professionals will help open new doors for you and will ensure that you are best placed to seize any opportunities that come your way.
Even if you find networking difficult or if you find it tedious and awkward. Making networking work for you and your career is essential.
To make the most out of networking, it is important that you do it regularly because when you see networking as something that you do every week or at least every month, then you really start to see the value in what it can provide you your career in journalism.
Even though networking can feel like an unnatural process, it doesn’t have to.
Practicing what you want to say and also practicing what you want to achieve from networking (as well as working on your networking pitch) will ensure that you can make effective and useful connections at every event that you choose to attend.
13. Continual Learning and Development
To push a new career in journalism forwards, you have to be sure that you continually focus on learning and development. You have to be always focusing on improving how you write and what you write.
If you are not focused on both development of your writing and continuous learning, then you may find that you hit stumbling blocks (more often than you should) with your writing.
These stumbling blocks that you encounter can stop you from writing good quality content, and it could stop you from creating and retelling valuable and news-worthy stories.
Learning how to hone your craft and learning how to develop your writing skills through continuous learning is something that you need to focus on.
Investing your time and investing your energy into yourself will pay dividends, especially down the line when you come to put your learning and development into action – whether this is through regular writing work as a journalist or through a freelance career in journalism that could take you all across the country.