Students who want to study journalism and media know that this field of study requires creativity and good writing abilities. However, what many students don’t realise is that it takes far more than strong writing skills and a dash of creativity to succeed as a journalist.
As someone who has always had a passion for writing, I often thought about pursuing a career in journalism and media studies. I even remember asking a well-known sports writer what it takes to succeed in this competitive industry. His response confused me more than what it helped me. All he said was:
“It’s very simple, interview more than one source and tighten up your writing skills.”
That didn’t help me much, so I decided to do my own research. And in that process, I came up with 6 things you can start doing while you are still a journalism and media student that will help you to achieve success in this industry:
1) Work hard:
>This goes beyond working on your writing skills alone. The writing is, in fact, one of the easiest parts to grasp in this challenging industry. Yes, you do need to work on your writing skills, but make sure to work on your research skills, interviewing skills, and general communication skills as well. Journalism as a whole is the kind of industry that will reward hard work.
2) Learn from your mistakes:
Your first article, assignment, or assessment will not be perfect, so don’t expect 100%. Yes, it’s great to aim high, but you also need to be realistic. And remember that by making mistakes – and learning from them – you will be improving your skills all the time.
3) Ask more questions:
If you are unsure about anything in your course material, ask your tutor for help. Writing and reporting are tricky concepts to grasp, after all, and the best journalists in the industry are the ones who are able to complete challenging tasks by asking (and finding answers to) the right questions.
4) Get tech savvy:
With the world embracing all things digital, it’s important that you, as a journalism and media student, jump on the bandwagon and keep up with new digital trends from day one. This involves familiarising yourself with anything from social media platforms to blogging to digital writing and image-editing software.
5) STAY INFORMED
If you want to be a good news journalist one day, then you need to keep up to date on current affairs in your country, and on important global issues. Start developing a habit of staying informed by watching the news on TV, buying the daily newspapers, or browsing news sites. This will improve your understanding of the world around you and, by reading the work of experienced journalists, you’ll also get some ideas on how an article should be structured and written.
6) BE RESPONSIBLE
While you’re studying, always keep in mind your important responsibility as a journalist. You have the task of reporting truthfully on events to keep the public informed, and there are many ethical and legal requirements that go with this. In this profession, it is vital to have a good knowledge of what is and isn’t ethical. Recognising the importance of this career will motivate you to become the best journalist you can be.
For many students, it comes as a surprise when they start studying a journalism and media course, only to realise that there’s way more to it than just writing and researching. Don’t let this deter you — journalism and media is an exciting, diverse, and constantly developing field requiring a broad range of skills.
Note: This article was originally published on 25 March 2015, and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy. Updated by: Dale Hes