How To Build Your Career In Journalism

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If you’re looking for a varied, exciting career, then it’s hard to go wrong with journalism. This is a challenging career that can take you anywhere you want to go, so it’s well worth looking into.

Like any career, there’s plenty of competition out there, though, and to give yourself the best chance of success, you have to have a plan. With a little bit of research and lots of hard work, you can set yourself up for a successful career in journalism and enjoy the benefits of this wonderful profession.

Grow Your Interest

If you’re thinking about a career in journalism, then it’s important you take steps to get a better feel for it. It’s important you do your research and make sure journalism is a good fit for you before you make any definitive decisions.

Journalism is an amazing career, but it’s not for everyone, so make sure to take small steps before you commit. Sign up for magazines, practice your writing, and speak to a local journalist to find out if you might be a good fit for a career in journalism.

There are lots of ways you can get involved with the subject, so make sure you’re exploring your options and getting a good picture of what it’s like to be a journalist. Once you’re confident it’s a good fit, then you can start to consider your next steps and think about courses like a digital journalism degree.

Further Your Education

Studying journalism at a degree level is an important step towards becoming a journalist. There are lots of different options as to how you do this, so again, make sure you’re putting in the research and finding the course that best fits you.

Journalism has changed a great deal in recent decades, and the skills one needs to be successful in this career have changed with it. It’s important the course you choose will teach you the skills you need to succeed in the modern world, and that’s why a course like a digital journalism degree could be the right way to go.

Most people get their news over the internet in the modern world, so a digital journalism degree can help you build the skills needed to thrive in modern journalism. During your studies, you’ll be able to get hands-on experience and take steps towards embarking on your professional career.

Gain Experience

Throughout your education, there should be plenty of opportunities to gain experience in the field, but you’ve got to be on the lookout for them.

Whether you’re in university or high school, you should be on the lookout for internships and other opportunities to volunteer your time. It might be a very basic experience, but it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in journalism and build connections that can last a lifetime.

An internship can go perfectly with a digital journalism degree, setting you up for a prosperous career.

Hone Your Writing Skills

Writing might only be a part of modern journalism, but it’s an extremely important one. Whether you’ve just decided to pursue journalism, or you’ve already taken your first steps, you can always work on your writing skills.

Journalistic writing is unique, and the only way you’re going to improve is by practicing. You can do this today simply by writing.

A great way to do this is by starting your own blog. It doesn’t take much to set up a small website, and from there, you can post all your work. Not only is this a good opportunity to practice, but it can also serve as a portfolio going forward.

No matter how good you are at writing, there’s always space to improve, and practicing is the best way to make sure this happens.

Take Advantage of Every Opportunity

Journalism is a competitive field, so you’ve got to be on your toes and ready to take opportunities when they present themselves. You never know what might happen, so you’ve got to have an open mind and be ready to engage your journalistic mind.

Sometimes stories come from places you would never have expected, and to succeed, you’ve got to be open to these opportunities. It’s the same thing with your career; you don’t know where the next opportunity might come from, so you’ve always got to be ready to embrace it.

Part of journalism is having an inquisitive mind, and if you can learn to look for opportunities at every turn, then it’s going to help you succeed in your career.

Set Goals

No matter what you want to achieve in life, goals can help you get there.

Most of us have rough goals in mind, but until you sit down and write out concrete goals, they’re not going to have the same effect. Once you’ve got clear short-term, middle-term, and long-term goals, you know exactly what you’re working towards at every step of your journey.

The path to becoming a journalist isn’t always easy, so you need things to help keep you going. Goals are a great way to do this because they can show you how far you’ve come and demonstrate that you’re on the right path.

The best goals are what are known as SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

So rather than just setting the goal of becoming a journalist, you may set a goal to start a digital journalism degree in the next year. By creating lots of goals like this, you set out a path that’s going to help you achieve your ultimate goal of becoming a journalist.

Put Your Skills Into Action

You don’t have to have a job in journalism to start practicing your skills.

In the modern world, you have so many different ways to showcase what you can do, so make the most of them:

  • Start your own blog
  • Grow your social media platforms
  • Send your work to newspapers
  • Work for news organizations on a freelance basis

You may or may not get paid for this work, but the important thing is it’s a chance to develop your skills and build your own platform. Creating your own website might seem daunting, but it’s actually very easy to do with websites like Wix or Squarespace.

If you’re professional about what you do and are able to critically evaluate your own work, then this is an amazing opportunity to improve your skills. At the same time, you’re building something you own and can use as a portfolio to show to prospective employers.

The important thing is to remember why you’re doing this is although it’s not necessarily paid work, you always want to represent yourself in the best possible way. This means giving your work the full attention it needs and always doing your best.

Keep an Eye on the Job Market

Whether you’re actively looking for a new job or not, it’s always worth keeping an eye on the job market. Journalism is a fast-moving industry, and you never know what opportunity might be around the corner.

Part of this is making sure to keep an up-to-date resume. When you do come to apply for a new job, you want to have your resume ready to go, rather than having to spend a few hours trawling back through your past achievements. If you regularly update your resume, then the information is fresh in your mind, making it much easier to write.

You don’t have to check the job listing every day if you’re happy with what you’re doing, but it’s always worth keeping an eye on just to see what’s out there.

Your dream job could come up at any time, and you want to know about it when it does.

Network

Networking is important no matter what career you pursue. Of course, improving your career options should be about your abilities, but it can also come down to who you know.

The more you meet people and build relationships, the easier it’s going to be to put yourself into consideration for jobs.

In the modern world, where everything is quite internet-based, networking tends to get slightly forgotten, but this shouldn’t be the case. As we mentioned earlier, you never know where your next opportunity will come from, and the more people you meet in your industry, the more opportunities you’re likely to come across.

There’s no substitute for a personal connection, and networking is a great way to achieve this. Look for events in your local area and get out and see who you meet. People are more than willing to help you out on your journey, so get out and meet them.

Interview Skills

Interviews are something many people dread, but this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s like with anything, practice makes perfect, and the more you practice your interview skills, the easier it will become.

This is something you can practice at any point in your life, and it’s likely something that will be discussed in your digital journalism degree. When you really want a certain job, it’s always going to be nerve-racking to walk into an interview, but if you’ve done good preparation, then you’ve got every reason to feel confident.

You will have to pass an interview at different stages of your career, but this shouldn’t be something to worry about. If you practice beforehand and come into the interview well prepared, then you’ve got an opportunity to just relax and be yourself.

If you don’t nail the first one, don’t be discouraged. Keep working on it, and you’ll nail one sooner or later.

Think About a Specialization

While journalists are able to cover many different subjects, they naturally tend to develop an area of specialization. This is one of the great things about journalism – you can focus on subject areas that you enjoy.

This could be the local crime beat, sports, world politics, local politics – any number of different things. If you’ve got a passion for it, then you’ve got a good opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in the subject.

The more in-depth your knowledge, the more attractive you’re going to be for potential employers. Everyone needs an expert, and your journalism career gives you a good opportunity to establish yourself as one.

There’s no rush to choose your area of specialization, but when you’re researching your career or studying for your digital journalism degree, it’s worth thinking about what you might specialize in.

Continue to Invest in Your Skills

As a journalist, you’re constantly growing and improving your skills. It’s never too late to learn new things and incorporate new ideas into your work.

This is where courses such as a digital journalism degree can be so useful. You may be an established journalist, but you feel you need to adapt to the digital side of the job. Educational courses such as a digital journalism degree are always adapting, helping to prepare students for the future of journalism, so it can be very beneficial to go back to studying.

In such a fast-moving career as journalism, you can get left behind if you’re not refreshing your skills, so it’s important to keep up with the latest trends.

Conclusion

Journalism is a brilliant career that’s always going to be in demand. It plays such an important role in society that there’s always going to be a need for high-quality journalists.

However, journalism is constantly changing, and this has been particularly true in the last couple of decades. When you’re planning your career in journalism, it’s important to keep in mind the fast-moving nature of the industry and adjust accordingly.

The best way to build your career in journalism is through clear goals that give you a good idea of what you want to achieve. From there, you can create a plan to study things like a digital journalism degree and gradually progress your career.

There are lots of routes into journalism, but all of them require good planning.

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