Tips for Journalism Students

Posted by: Madeline Lumley

Today in class, we were lucky enough to have Kendra Williams, Travel Editor for Midwest Living, come in and speak to us about her experiences in the world of journalism. Out of all of the interesting tips and stories she shared with us, one quote in particular stuck out in my mind and kept me thinking all day: “Doing good work is not good enough.” She was telling us a story about an apprentice who did great work, but was very introverted and didn’t really interact with the other Midwest Living employees. Her introversion might cost her a job in the future, Williams told us.

This caught my attention because I am naturally an introverted person. I’m much less shy nowadays, compared to when I was younger, but I think there’s always room for improvement. So, how can someone like me (or, really, any aspiring journalists) get themselves out there?

Andrew Nusca, creator of the The Editorialiste, compiled a list of tips for journalists at any stage in their careers.

Some Highlights:

  • “Don’t be afraid, and try, try, try. Don’t rely on one place to pitch – pitch your story high and low…Most people will be welcome to read what you’ve got, provided they’re not on deadline.”
  • “In class, reach higher: Write like you’re writing for a big name publication. Get better sources, write cleaner copy, and think about who you could pitch while writing it.”
  • “Mention your best clips [in your resume], or if you have none, emphasize any writing you’ve done, no matter how small.”

"Notebook Collection" by Dvortygirl via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

All of these tips have something in common: they require confidence. Once a student or a journalist gains more confidence in herself and her writing, introversion would probably become less of a problem in the workplace.

Do you have any tips for introverted journalists?

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4 responses to “Tips for Journalism Students

  1. I think this is a really interesting idea about good work not being good enough, you have to be able to interact and the only advice that I can offer based on my past experiences is to ask questions. Asking them makes the people you work with know that you’re interested in what’s going on.

  2. I know right… I’ve always pretty much relied on simply doing good work. What scares me most about journalism is this whole networking thing. I hate networking. I hate it so much. I’m so used to being surrounded by literary writers who all pretend that they couldn’t care less if they impress you (who, of course, are the ones that are most impressive). But in journalism I have to actually do work getting to know people, and even worse, ask for help and favors. Makes me anxious just thinking about it.

    • The hardest part for me is picking up the phone to call a potential source for a story. I get so anxious, and I don’t like that I can’t see their facial expressions as they talk to me. But, I keep hearing that everyone hates talking on the phone, whether they’re introverted or not, so I guess we’re all in this one together, haha.

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