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How to Get into the Journalism Field
So, you want to get a job in journalism? Well, let's be honest, it ain't going to be easy. Journalism is a mighty tough field to get into.
Journalism has become one of the most popular career choices for young people. Yet, at the same time, changes in digital technology have caused the newspaper industry to shrink. In short, there are fewer jobs and more people competing for them.
If you want to make it in the field of journalism, you need experience, skill, confidence and dedication. It's not going to be easy, but it is possible.
A journalism or communications degree is not always the best option for a journalistic career. Often it is better to get a degree in something like politics, economics, law or computer science, so that you can gain specialist knowledge of a subject and then have something to write about. You can always do further postgraduate journalistic training after that. A practical course which covers areas such as shorthand, interviewing techniques, media law and subbing will be useful.
Get into Student Media
If you are a student with journalistic aspirations then it is goes without saying that you are highly active within student media. Not only should you be writing for the student magazine, you should be working towards becoming the idea. Remember, you need to be highly competitive in this game. Get involved with any media related activities at your college or university: newspapers, magazines, radio stations, video.
Earn Money from your Writing
If you want to be a writer, you need a portfolio of your work. HubPages is a great way to build a writing portfolio online and earn money while you're doing. Give your writing career a kick start and sign up now.
Get Work Experience
While you are still a student, it is vital that you get some work experience. Writing for a student magazine is good, but nothing beats real life experience of an actual media organisation.
As a student, you should arrange an internship or unpaid work experience. It is essential that you gain some insight into the realities of working in a busy newsroom, radio station or TV network.
After graduation, chances are you won't get a paid job straight away, so unpaid work is the only way you can hope to get a foot in the door.
Be careful though. Make sure that you only stick with an internship if you feel that you are learning something from the experience. Many employers take advantage of bright-eyed young media wannabes, using them as free alternatives to actually paying a real employee.
Develop People Skills
You might be able to write, but another skill which is vitally important in a journalism is being able to deal with people. As a reporter, you might have to interview a range of different people, often in difficult situations. The ability to gain people's trust is important. You need to be the kind of person who people are willing to talk to. Working on your people skills is important.
Learn another Language
Anything that gives you an upper hand can help you in your career. Being able to speak another language is obviously going to increase the range of opportunities available to you .A non-European language is best as not as many of your competitors will speak it. Spend some time abroad if you can. This will help you improve your language skills and also provide some great inspiration for things to write about.
Be Prepared to Relocate
You need to be prepared to move where the opportunities are. Refusing to budge from the place you call home could cost you on the job front. Don't always assume that you should head for a big city. Smaller places have less competition.
Learn Technical Skills
Obviously, the internet has completely changed journalism. The newspaper industry is shrinking because of online technologies. If you want to break into journalism today, you need technical skills. Things you should consider learning about include HTML, InDesign, content management systems, infographics creation and data journalism.
Read Read Read
Read everything. Read every newspaper and magazine that you can, so that you can learn to develop your own writing style. Read books about the industry, books about writing, books about a subject that you want to specialize in. A good introduction to digital journalism is the book Journalism Next by Mark Briggs which covers areas such as blogs, crowdsourcing and mobile applications, databases, audio and video.
Get Your Work Online
Journalists write for readers. If you want to get a job as a journalist, any potential employer will want to see that you are already writing for readers. Luckily, the internet makes this super easy for you.
Starting a blog is the easiest thing in the world. Pick a topic you are interested in and start writing. Maybe you won't build a huge following, but maybe you will. Maybe you won't get noticed by an editor and hired on the strength of your writing, but maybe you will. The one way to ensure that you definitely won't get noticed is to do nothing.
If you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, you need to have an online portfolio. The easiest way to do that is to sign up here on HubPages.
Good luck with your journalism career.