So you want to be a journalist? It’s an admirable profession, a vocation in and of itself that demands a whole myriad of skills. But becoming a professional journalist takes more than just passion- and- just so you have all your bases covered, we, the good people at Kingspeak, are here to help you along the path.
One of the primary means of getting your work ‘out there’ is by way of submissions. Many of the biggest newspapers and magazines accept submissions for either a specific time period or even year round- take advantage of this. It sounds brash and unrealistic, but would be to your surprise just how effective a way into the industry this can be. Write, write, and write. Be prepared for rejection, it’s inevitably going to happen. Nevertheless, take any and all rejections as a chance to self-assess and self-improve. In the case that you get your first submission published, congratulations you’re a journalistic prodigy.
Start a Blog
Not everyone wants to spend their free time grinding out articles to send out that may potentially get turned down. An alternative? Start a blog. The benefits of starting a blog are many, but importantly blogs allow you to:
- Choose the content you are producing
- Guaranteed audience – your social networks and more.
When you start a blog you have total creative control. Whether you want to blog about the latest releases in Math Rock or the struggles of living in London you have a space for expression. As well as the creative freedom, blogs provide an online portfolio so you can provide examples of your skill as a journalist, which leads me to my next point…
Work experience is in high demand and low supply, but one of the keys to getting useful work experience is broadening your horizons. Before you send probably the thousandth email of the day to the Guardian enquiring about work experience, look to smaller publication, even specialised publications.
Local newspapers and area-specific magazines would be glad to have young writers contribute to their publications so take advantage of that.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing. Write, I tell you! Write! Whether it’s a blog or submissions or a part-time job, write. Spend your free time writing, write about everything, think about anything and everything that could be relevant and write.
Words: Jamel Diop