People tend to think that there’s a lot of tricks to being a productive journalism student, but there are actually just a few very small things you need to keep in mind as you study. A lot of them are pretty easy to keep up with, too!
The most important factor is keeping up with the news, and practice writing newsworthy content. This might sound basic, but a lot of journalism students don’t think to amplify this in their lives! They want to write about their own opinions – and although this is still considered journalistic content, news outlets look for journalist who understand the importance of newsworthy stories. It may not always be content you want to write about, but showing that interest in what is going on in the world is what journalism is all about.
As a journalist you probably have a niche you are passionate about writing, and this could be stories about war, social issues or local environmental stories. But even within those passions, remembering to keep your work objective is essential. Your job is to ask questions and report on what your sources have to say; your views can’t colour your piece.
Another important tip is networking and gaining contacts that will make you an incredibly successful journalism student! It might be tempting to just stay within your comfort zone, and not go out of your way to meet new people, but it’s important for you to mingle, after all you never know who you may cross paths with, and how they might benefit you!
The more people you know, the more contacts you have. The more contacts you have, the more current stories you’re going to hear about. You need interesting people with interesting stories to tell around you because that is how you’ll always be in demand.
This can be fellow peers, teachers, your local government, or even your local corner shop owners. Talk to people, get to know them, and make up your own little journal that is devoted exclusively to their contact information, what they’re experts in, and how willing they are to talk to you. Sending that email, and asking if ‘anything new is happening’ could lead you to the next big story.
A lot of helpful information can be found on the Graduate+ page that can enhance your productivity as a Journalist. Located on the information and resource tab, is employability/career advice that can help with career development and planning, as well as networking & online branding. Specifically, you will learn some new ways to network effectively, that can be applied to your new journalistic mindset!
My final tip in becoming a productive journalism student is learning how to proofread your own work. You need to be able to select the correct grammar, know the correct spelling, and write in a professional but compelling manner. A poorly constructed piece of work won’t get you the job, and neither will flagrant misspellings. It will instead give off the impression that you don’t have an eye for detail, which will make people doubt you are a writer. Remember, you will grow as a writer day by day, but it is a great idea to start practicing now. Get into the habit of double and triple checking your work. As tedious as it can get, take that step to re-write drafts, it’ll always be worth it.
Graduate+ on demand provides workshops like ‘An Introduction To Academic Writing’ that can give you an overview of what you’ll need to succeed at academic writing and provides help on problems students experience. This is a handy resource because grammar, vocabulary and the structure of your work are key factors in writing any type of content.
All in all, the key to being a productive journalism student is to keep your ears and eyes open, stay up to date on both local and global happenings, and make sure that you’re always actively writing and creating quality work. As long as this is at the forefront of your mind, you’re that much closer to becoming a successful journalist!