Monday, 9 November 2015

How To Become A Journalist


So, I guess I should start out by saying that there is no one way to 'become' a journalist! Everyone has different paths, but I thought I'd share mine as I often get emailed for tips on how to do it. Having only been officially qualified and working for 18 months now, I'm not exactly the fountain of all knowledge, but I did manage to land my dream job and that's something I couldn't have done without some of the following...

I went a pretty traditional route into journalism - A-Levels, English Lit. degree, NCTJ course, work experience, paid internship, job. Originally staying in higher education wasn't something I planned to do, simply because I'd had enough of writing essays at college and wanted to explore the world, maaan. But after a year of failing to do so (I mainly worked in retail), I decided I was more than ready to expand my mind at university. I studied English and American Literature at Goldsmiths, which I would highly recommend for those interested! Some days I look at my student debt and wish I'd just done an NCTJ straight away instead, but (as the clich├ęd saying goes), I grew up a lot at university. Turns out you can learn a thing or two from books...

Next (and this was probably the most important bit), I took an NCTJ course at Brighton Journalist Works. The things I learnt on this course were completely invaluable, and I wouldn't be where I am without it - seriously, I applied for countless internships beforehand and heard nothing back. As soon as I finished the course, portfolio in hand, I landed work experience at some brilliant Hearst magazine titles before getting an amazing paid internship at The Telegraph. From there, I applied for a position as the Style writer for The Huffington Post UK and I couldn't be happier in my current role there.

I'm going to be sharing some more specific tips in subsequent blog posts (applying for jobs/interview tips etc), but the best advice I'd give to anyone considering a career in journalism is to just start writing! Pick a topic you feel passionate about and just go for it - start a blog, pitch ideas to publications, offer to do work experience at your local paper. Even if you feel scared about showcasing your stuff to the world, it's a lot less scary once you actually do it. And you never know where it might take you!
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