How Do You Become a Journalist?

JournalistIf you want to become a journalist, you need to understand that the field went through a number of changes over the years. The idea of reporters sitting around a newspaper office and springing to their feet when a story breaks is something that rarely happens today. Many newspapers now run stories written by reporters and journalists working all across the world. As the number of newspapers and magazines disappeared, the number of online news sources rose. Gaining experience in these fields can help you find work after you graduate.

Go to College

Forbes staff writer Jenna Goudreau recommends that future journalists go to college and finish two different degrees. While Goudreau doesn’t necessarily recommend that students major in journalism, she does point out that majoring in two different fields can help students rise above other recent graduates. For example, a student with a double major in journalism and political science can better understand the intricacies of a political campaign better than someone who only took journalism classes. Majoring in journalism can also help you develop skills relating to the software and programs used by editors, publishing companies and writers.

Take Part in the School Paper

To become a journalist, you need some writing experience, and one of the best places to get that experience is with the school paper. Even the smallest of colleges has a school paper, and while you might start out at the bottom level, you can slowly work your way up and get even more experience. School newspapers run everything from concert reviews and classified ads to news pertaining to the Greek system and interviews with school athletes. Writing for the school paper gives you clips that you can use in your portfolio.

Complete a Journalism Internship

College students often dream of doing a journalism internship that ends with them breaking a big story that launches their careers and turns them into stars. Depending on where you intern, you might find that your dreams are far from reality. Larger papers use interns as gophers to make coffee, order lunch, file possible stories and do some light editing. If you intern at a smaller paper, you might have the chance to do some writing as well. Many smaller local and community papers use interns to cover smaller stories that the traditional writers can’t cover.

Write for Yourself

With the news field increasingly turning towards the digital world, you need to better understand the ins and outs of that world. Running your own free blog is a great way to gain experience with editing, different writing platforms and even the widgets used by those platforms. You’ll also have the chance to share your opinions and gain some followers, which can help you become a journalist. When you write news stories and informative articles for your readers, you’ll create a digital portfolio that you can show to potential employers. Even the smallest of blogs or websites can help you show those employers your writing style and some of the experience that you have.

Related Resource: MBA Degree

More journalists work online for news websites and digital publishers than ever before. Whether you like the idea of writing for a local newspaper or an online source, you should know that gaining writing experience and going to college are just two of the steps required before you can become a journalist.

Featured Degree Programs