8 Things to Learn Before Becoming a Journalist

Journalism is one of the most fun but challenging careers a student can dive into. Being a journalist can cover a myriad of different subjects – news, columns, features, investigative and tabloid to name a few. This gives you great scope for creativity and diversity. Furthermore, there is a myriad of the best colleges for journalism and a heap of learning material available.

Before you have to start writing essays and doing college work for your journalism majors, you must have an idea of the other skills you should have. This career path requires a multitude of different skills and techniques, aside from writing free essays and completing your journalism education. We have gathered 8 things you should learn before becoming a journalist:

1. Writing skills & techniques

How to write and writing techniques is obviously a huge factor. This is much of what this career path is about. You must have solid writing skills. You could consider looking at free essays for students relating to journalism to gain an idea of what you can expect. Furthermore, you may benefit from using a writing service so that you can have some material to study. You could use this essay to look at common techniques used. Work on your writing. Create sample pieces. You could even create a personal blog to get your creative juices flowing.

2. How to develop a personal portfolio

Having somewhere to showcase your work is hugely important for a journalist. You want potential clients and customer to see what you can create. To do this, you could create a personal blog or online portfolio. Platforms such as WordPress or Wix are easy to use and do not require knowledge of coding. You could use one of these platforms to build an online portfolio – this would be populated with examples of your published work.

3. How to create a journalistic network of contacts

Having a network of reliable and informative contacts is an absolute must. Try to build your network so that you can gain inside information and tips on the latest news scoops for example. The best colleges for journalism can help in your career path, but knowing people within the industry is just as invaluable. You can use social media networks such as LinkedIn, and you can also try and make contact with editors from newspapers and magazines.  

4. Basics of photography and video

As a journalist, your skills are not just limited to writing. You must also be handy with the internet and the digital world. To embellish your writing and make it more appealing, it is ideal to have a grasp of photography and video editing. If you understand how to take and edit good photos, and how to craft useful videos, you can make your journalistic content that much more appealing. You can also use this visual content in your social media posts and portfolio.

5. How to take advantage of social media
 
Social media is something that cannot be avoided today. As a journalist who provides a service to the public, you must be able to capitalize on what social media can provide. You can reach a huge volume of readers and potential clients through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you want to know what I can do with a journalism degree, don’t forget that social media can help. You can promote yourself through this media, and also share your work with a much wider audience.

6. How to gain exposure in the media industry

Gaining exposure and getting your name out there is something you must learn. It is not enough just to have excellent writing skills – you have to promote yourself. This could involve working for free or offering your service to others. You could apply to write articles and columns for your local newspaper, or even small businesses and organizations. Every time you produce a piece of work, your name is being thrust out there for people to take note of.

7. Common types of journalistic structure
 
Some journalism follows a set structure. Articles and news stories can follow common guidelines. For example, there is the lead, body and tail triangle. There is also the news diamond structure which involves alert, draft, article, analysis, context, interactivity, and customization. Study these different journalistic structures and incorporate them into your work.

8. How to take notes

When you are out in the field investigating, you must be able to quickly and effectively take notes. If you cannot, you may miss out on vital parts of your story or miss important facts. Practice your note-taking and develop a system that works effectively for you. You will find this note-taking skill invaluable in a number of different areas of the job.

As you can see, college work and education is just part of the journalistic quest. You must also have a myriad of skills to apply for a journalism major jobs. Take a look at the above list, and see what you need to improve upon, to make full use of your journalism majors. 

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