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How to become a Journalist

avg. starting salary

Think you have a natural flair for writing? Are you interested in reporting the latest news? You should become a Journalist… Journalists break the news, as, when and (occasionally) even before it happens. You could choose to write for a certain specialism (e.g. current affairs), write solely for one publication, or write for several different sources simultaneously, across a range of different subjects. Many may even work in a freelance capacity. Day-to-day responsibilities may vary depending on publication and experience, but typical duties could include:
  • Coming up with new ideas or angles for potential stories
  • Conducting or transcribing interviews
  • Following up leads, networking and attending press conferences or media days
  • Drafting and editing new articles to submit to the editor
  • Potentially editing other writers stories for publication

To be successful as a Journalist, it almost goes without saying that excellent writing skills are absolutely essential. Creativity and the ability to meet deadlines are similarly crucial, especially with so much competition for exclusivity involved in the media today. Being relatively well-read is also extremely helpful in this position, if only to have a comparison for your work or to help you develop an individual style. Other key skills include:
    • The ability to multitask
    • Excellent interpersonal skills
    • Superior research skills, especially when investigating potential stories
    • A good grasp of tone, and an awareness of this when writing for different mediums
    • Conflict management and problem solving
    • Having a general knowledge of literary conventions

"I've wanted to write ever since I could remember, and when I got my first work experience as a journalist at a local paper, I couldn't believe my luck. After a few months of helping with smaller stories (and making coffee, obviously), I was finally offered an entry-level position writing for the sports section, and haven’t looked back since. The best thing is that I get to go to some of the biggest events, and get paid to do it. Oh, and write. That too…"

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