For any journalist there are many avenues into the industry. Originally these may include getting an internship and starting to write smaller pieces by yourself, working on a ‘beat’, or as an assistant in a studio. Nowadays with modern media playing a major role in the evolution of journalism, there are various other routs in to the industry.

These can include:

– Starting a blog.

Starting a blog can be a great way for a journalist to get noticed, and adds to experience within the industry. If the blog is well written, covers good stories and is also well presented, it is likely to improve your chances of being recognised as a journalist. As you already have a foot in the door. It may also help you build a repertoire of contacts that may be beneficial in the future.

– Starting your own publication.

Many journalists have become successful through starting their own independent publications, although this may appear challenging, a journalist could consider starting on a small scale such as a local, free publication. A good example of this in Leeds is movement magazine. Doing this not only allows a journalist to improve their skills, but also provides them with a better understanding of how a publication works as a hole. Providing them with a better all round understanding of the industry.

– Freelancing, pitching to editors.

There’s nothing stopping a journalist from going out and looking for a good story to cover, then pitching their article to editors at existing publications. A journalist should try to find original angles on anything they choose to write about, in order to differentiate themselves from the numerous other articles that will find their way to an editor. Remember to write an interesting pitch, in order to entice an editor into wanting your article instead of someone else’s, that may already be on their pay role. Also make sure you know the publication your pitching to inside out, to insure your article is in fitting with their house style.

The world of journalism has changed dramatically for the current generation, in todays climate some one is just as likely to see a news story via Facebook, as they are via the 6 o’clock news. Things are moving faster than ever, images from the scene of a story can be uploaded to the internet by a whiteness with a camera phone. Any good journalist needs to recognise this and enable them selves with not only journalistic skills, but the ability to adapt and utilise these new technologies, available to them in todays digital age.

“While the basic tenets of journalism will remain the same (honesty, fairness, accuracy), almost everything else will change: how our work reaches our audiences/readers; the tools we use to do our jobs; the nature of the relationship we have with the people who access our work, and who are competitors are.” [1]

The difference between a good journalist and someone that has decided to publish stories for example online, with no knowledge of the industry, will always be made apparent through the details. For example, writing skill, the angle taken by the writer, good interviews, and strong sources.

“Dont over-report, one good quote per point is enough.” [2]

In todays society it seems there is nothing stopping an aspiring journalist, from going out there and sinking their teeth into the world of reporting. Mastering their art by not only learning in a class room or through internships, but by getting out, and discovering the in’s and out’s of the industry for themselves.

[1] Tom Regan. Technology Is Changing Journalism. Nieman Reports. Available: http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/101770/Technology-Is-Changing-Journalism.aspx (08/12/13).

[2] John Herbert. Writing features for print. In: Herbert, J, Journalism in the digital age. (2000). Oxford: Focal Press. p186- 187

 

 

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