Let’s be honest: with my professional journalistic experience of mere half a year, I am hardly in the position to give you pieces of advice. I’ve been doing written journalism for not so long compared to highly qualified professionals in the field. What I do have, however, is the experience of getting into journalism without the appropriate qualification and relevant professional experience. So, if you are only dreaming of becoming a journalist but don’t know where to start, this list is definitely for you.
To achieve any goal, you have to be determined and passionate. Get your priorities straight. To become a journalist with no qualification, you have to be truly fond of writing. You need dedication, time, and effort. Well, if you didn’t have at least some of these, you wouldn’t be reading this post, I guess.
You have to understand that people won’t be reading you just because you want them to. If you start a blog, for example, be prepared to have little readership at first. Speaking of blog, I found it particularly useful. Even with few readers, I got the chance to improve my writing style, to better understand what people want to read, and so on. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I am happy to realize only few readers saw my first texts.
Of course, we all dream of becoming a member of New York Times team someday. However, if you don’t have experience yet, look for any available opportunities. For example, you might send your articles to your school magazine. If you are dedicated enough, you can even climb a career ladder there and become an editor, which will be a good thing to mention in your resume.
Even if you already have some job, don’t stop looking for opportunities. At this point, you have to get your portfolio together. Once you have several good articles published in newspapers, magazines, or blogs, you can start sending out your resume to local newspapers or agencies.
Especially when writing a decent article (I mean something besides your blog). Punctuation, style, proper words, spelling, and grammar – everything matters. It’s a good idea to ask your friend to proofread the article for you. In addition, always use online spellcheckers.
By this, I mean being realistic about your skills, experience, and time when managing your workload. When you are starting your career, you are usually ready to make use of any chance. However, you should write only on topics you know inside out and mind the deadlines.
Be creative. You are a writer, after all.
I hope that these easy hints will be of great use for you. If you are truly passionate about journalism, you will definitely find a way to make your dream come true. Just don’t lose heart and continue writing!