Every upcoming journalist has questions and the tough ones are always the ones we’re scared to ask; I have your guide to Journalism 101!
Realizing your potential is the first step to any task you may encounter, deep breaths and confidence are essential when you’re writing on stories, reports, or even your own public pieces. These are the Do’s and Don’t You Dares for Upcoming Journalism Students.
When entering Journalism you will be bombarded with new information that will make your head spin in circles, don’t freak out, this will all pass in time. Teachers like to jump right into your curriculum in order to get through any rough patches and spend more time on assignments students may come into trouble with. Not every student will know their destined path within the Journalistic system whether you fall into the categories of cameraman, reporter, digital photographer, and many other jobs that apply to the journalism field.
Everyday you aren’t in class is a day you are missing out on valuable learning time. You will hear over and over again that going to classes is in your best interest, trust them when they say you need to be in class. Teachers won’t reteach a whole lesson for a student who decided a Thursday morning class wasn’t their cup of tea. In reality, you are here to learn and you pay to have an education. Why waste your money on a subject you are interested in if you’re going to sit at home? Go to class.
Show-don’t tell; description is everything in journalism, you create a mental picture for your reader and influence their perspective on specific topics according to the work you produce. Less is more when it comes to news writing, it’s better to be straight to the point rather than to use three adjectives when describing a tree in order to meet a 300 word page. Always have a pen in hand and a paper ready to take notes, your cell phone battery won’t last forever and what will you do when you have to meet deadlines while you missed half the story because of a technically issue? If you have to leave a scene to cover another story, make sure you have credible sources, I’m not talking about your neighbour who heard about the accident from a friend’s mother, the credible source that was on scene and can give you every inch of detail.
Your teachers aren’t here to make your life a living hell, when it comes to post-secondary your teachers are passionate about what they’re teaching and want you to advance further within your studies. They will correct you when you’re wrong, support your judgement calls, and always be able to answer the “stupid” questions you have. One big point, never be afraid of red-ink, most people associate this mark with failure and disappointment but if you have red pen all over your paper’s you are doing something right. Even the best journalists have their work edited multiple different times and go through about four different rewrites before they come to the published piece. Constructive criticism is how your teachers and fellow students will be able to test your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to pressure and your writing abilities.
Remember to always keep your head up high and take every opportunity and experience to mind because you will learn the in’s and out’s of journalism. Test out the waters and eliminate any negativity in order to conquer your journalistic fears. The career path you chose was for a reason, you owe it to yourself to put your best foot forward and follow your heart.