So, you want to be a successful journalist, huh? Well, you came to the right spot! Not only is journalism a critical career and essential, but it is also a great way to interview great people and to share other people's stories. Being a journalist is about writing compelling articles and about your topic and having great sources to back up your information. Here are five tips that every journalist should have to be successful.
1) Good writing skills- Every successful journalist should have good writing skills. Sentences must be complete, the grammar must be tact, and most importantly, grab the reader's attention. There is no such thing as the perfect writer. We all make grammar mistakes from time to time or misspell a word or two once in a while (don’t make it a habit). You can always brush up on your writing skills a bit by taking writing courses online.
2) Practical communication skills- When gathering information for your story or even interview, you may need to take some extra steps, such as talking to people on the phone for clarity on information or even making sure facts are up to date. When interviewing on the phone, in person, or via email, it is vital to make sure the interviewee has all the ingredients to the interview or story, such as time, location, and talking points for clarity. The person you are interviewing should be a top priority, so making them feel comfortable during the interview is essential. If you can send them talking points of what they should expect from the consultation will make a good impression.
3) Research your topic- Use your technology skills to learn more about your story. For instance, if you are writing about the Black Lives Matter movement, the first thing you should read articles about the BLM movement, its mission, the founders, and what impact they are making for this year's election. Reading other news sources is very helpful when writing your story and what angle you should take.
4) Knowledge in Journalism- Every good journalist should keep up with current events and important news. Depending on what type of journalist you desire to be like an entertainment journalist, lifestyle journalist, or even a sports journalist, you must keep up and read all current news in the area you are writing on.
5) Create a digital portfolio- Many media groups and platforms request writers for samples of their writing so that they can get familiar with their writing style. Nowadays, technology is everything, so many magazines are digital, and it is easy to track published articles from writers and interviews from journalists to save in their portfolio. A bonus would be to have the print copy if something happens to the website, but most average magazines are good at keeping up with the sites. Keep every article in a safe place. You can create a free digital portfolio on Muck Rack, Writing Portfolio, WordPress, Clippings.me, etc.
Having these skills will make you a great journalist, and who knows, you could be writing for Forbes, the New York Times, or the Washington Post someday! Just remain professional because you aren’t just yourself, but you are a professional journalist on the rise and on their way to the top. If you keep these five tips in mind when pursuing your journalism career, everything will be smooth sailing. Keep these five tips in mind when embarking on your journalism career. Staying on top of your news game will help you to become a better journalist. Read different news sources and articles.
Patrice Rivers is a 9x published author, freelance writer, certified journalist and owner of That Riverz Gurl Brand LLC. Learn more by visiting www.thatriverzgurlbrandllc.com