The word journal is an interesting one. The meaning has evolved vastly over the centuries. While the definitions may differ in specifics, they fundamentally mean maintaining an accurate account of something, which precisely is the job description of a journalist. That is exactly what American sports journalist Emily Austin tells other aspiring journalists to think of as their foremost task. She has five specific pro-tips to help aspiring journalists build a stellar career.
Learn about order
Chronology is key. It’s the premise you need to continually keep in mind to stay on point when narrating a story. Order is the sequence of cause and effects. Where I come from, that’s the key to good reporting – the Why, When, Who, Where, What should be your thought-starters every time you report. While you may not always have the privilege to work elaborately on stories, following this golden rule will still help.
Time management is of the essence when it comes to journalism. You will have to learn to prioritize, and ironic as it may be, deadlines will often be the key to help you decide what needs to be done first and what can wait. Time management will also help you not let your work eat into your personal life.
Mind your language
Irrespective of the language you speak and report in, you must always focus on getting the basics right. A drab story becomes a worse read when written with grammatical errors sticking out like thorns. Enroll in an online grammar course to learn or brush up on your skills.
Journalism is not fantasy writing
If you’re hoping to become the next Stephen King or Tolkien, perhaps journalism is not for you. You are a scribe – a collector of facts with a knack of bundling them up in an easy to understand manner. So keep your writing sharp, your sentences precise, and your thinking clear.
Learn to research
That’s the key to journalistic success. Research is the best way to keep your facts in place and your ideas updated. It also helps you develop that journalistic integrity.
Practical and real, these tips can help you nicely navigate your path as a journalist.