If you want to break into journalism, you better prepare yourself for it first. Unlike traditional disciplines where you can enroll yourself in a course, study and take exams, get a degree and then comfortably land a job, journalism doesn’t work like that. Of course, signing up for a degree course always helps, but remember it is your real life awareness and practical skills that will ultimately help you to have a flourishing career. Broadcast journalism, which includes radio, television and the internet, in particular requires you to be skilled in a number of areas, and we tell you how.
1. You Need To Have These Basic Skills
A lot of people tend to be under the impression that superior writing skills is your ticket to a journalism job, but that’s not true. Journalistic writing is different from creative and academic writing and writing great reports comes with practice. As a broadcast journalist, you also need top-notch speaking skills and the ability to think on your feet. You need to be able to present information no matter how provocative in a diplomatic and pleasing manner. If you have performance anxiety, take up a classes in public speaking or body language and presentation skills or join the local debate and drama clubs.
2. Apply For Internships and Get Work Experience
You won’t get a job if you have stellar grades and amazing references, unless you have work experience. So take up a part time job that gives you the real life experience of being a journalist- work for the college newspaper or the community radio station. When you’re on summer break, apply for an internship at a local television station. It doesn’t matter if it’s unpaid: at this stage you need the certificate, and more importantly, you need the experience and the right contacts. And don’t just stop after one brief stint at the newsroom- keep building your CV as you learn.
3. Win Some Student Journalism Awards
You also need to display quick and sharp critical thinking skills and an acute knowledge of current affairs. Winning awards or even being nominated for one, helps you stand out from the rest. Take part in local, national and international competitions. Even participating in your college MUN will give you a crash course on international politics and diplomacy. Try your hand at investigative journalism and see if you can get a byline at a major newspaper or a website. Even a few published clips might go a long way in getting you a job.
4. Understand How the Style of Reporting Changes Across Media
A report published in a newspaper is different from the one that’s broadcast over tv, and will still differ from the one posted on the internet. So try to find out what changes when you adapt a piece of news across different media. If you’re working in radio, the audio is of utmost importance and you might want to practice scriptwriting or making podcasts. Similarly, for tv and the internet, you need to know the basics of videography including shooting and photographing people or events live as well as editing. Also keep some additional skills handy like knowing shorthand or speaking in a foreign language.
5. Be Proactive
In other words, go out there and do it yourself. Don’t wait for the college placement cell to give you a job. Take the initiative, build the right contacts and volunteer your services. Interview local celebrities or if you feel that something’s missing from the local news, cover the matter yourself and send it to a news agency. Or if you can provide a different angle to a popular news story, go and do it, instead of discussing it with friends. In short, do as you would do if you were already a broadcast journalist.
Broadcast journalism may look and sound tough, but if you can do it right, you’re in for an exciting, enjoyable and fulfilling career. Remember, the keywords are versatility, experience and being proactive. Don’t fret if you think you don’t have the right skills. If you really want a career here, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and then make an action plan to improve your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Be passionate and keep preserving, and you won’t even notice when you’ve broken into the industry.