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Top tips for student journalists

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Today, student blogger Priyanka Patel recent Media graduate gives her top tips for aspiring student journalists.

As a recent journalism graduate, I have learnt various skills throughout my three years of university in order to become a professional well-rounded journalist. Journalism is a fast-paced and ever-changing industry with various sectors to delve into; therefore, for those starting on a journalism course or within their final years, these tips are essential for student journalists to ensure you make the most of it.

1) Stay updated with current affairs

As a journalist, you need to know what’s going on not just around you, but also around the world. There are so many publications to choose from to get the latest information with easy access such as BBC News, ITV News, HuffPost, Birmingham Live, etc from the touch of an app. You can read stories whilst commuting or within your spare time. Staying current with news content helps you to think of new story ideas which you could potentially pitch to editors.

2) Start a blog

Blogs are a great way to express your opinions without limitations and is also a good path for writing about your interests from fashion, beauty, TV and Film. You can easily start one on WordPress, Wix or Weebly which are free and there are templates to use if you are stuck with how you want it layed out. Having a blog helps you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs as it shows you have the initiative and passion for storytelling.

3) Follow journalists on Twitter

Twitter is the best platform for connecting with journalists as many editors’ tweet about potential pitching opportunities and job opportunities for students starting out. If you see a potential opportunity, tell your peers, follow the editor back and even message them asking what they look for as this helps you to create a connection with them which will make them remember you. It’s also great to follow journalists who work within your areas of interests so you can ask about their job, how they got there and how they could help you.

4) Use the resources online to learn new skills

Organisations such as PressPad and JournoResources help young journalism students with the skills they need to become successful journalists. PressPad have many masterclasses from ‘how to network in a pandemic’ to ‘how to create a killer journalism CV’ whereas JournoResources post jobs daily and also have a weekly newsletter of opportunities from a wide range of media companies from internships, graduate scheme and full-time jobs. Using these resources can teach you new ways of journalism, plus they are run by journalists; therefore, even more networking and collaborating which is what journalism is all about.

5) Use your lecturers wisely

The lecturers at BCU are there to help you. Many of them are experts within their field and have connections to media companies and industry people. UTILISE them as they can help you with finding the right people to interview, where to find stories, how to interview, etc which will help build your confidence skills. They are there to support you, so use them to your advantage.