50 tips for budding journalists

par David Brewer
30 oct 2018 dans Journalism Basics

A reader of Media Helping Media from Southeast Asia contacted the site asking for some tips on becoming a journalist. There must have been thousands of such tips passed on over the years, but rather than hunt around for material others had written, David Brewer thought it was worth bashing out the first 50 that came to mind.

  1. It's a vocation, not a job
  2. You are born with a news sense, you can't be taught one
  3. Your duty is to scrutinise the executive and shine a torch in dark places
  4. All journalism should be investigative (digging where others don't) or witness (reporting on what you can see and hear)
  5. You are on duty 24 x 7
  6. Don't expect to be given stories; your job is to find them
  7. Your job is to ask questions, research information and uncover facts and then deliver those 8. facts to the audience in the most effective way
  8. Live your life by the rule that 'had it not been for you the world would never have known' (*)
  9. Always be working on your own investigation and come up with something original
  10. Don't live a wires-led life
  11. Don't follow the competition, aim to be ahead by finding your own stories and angles
  12. Always check the fourth paragraph in a glowing industry news release; there may be job losses or other bad news which may be of more interest to your audience
  13. Broadcast and publish for your audience, not for your own glory or peer group approval Treasure, nurture and feed contacts, don't just drain them and dump them
  14. Apply the same journalistic rigour to those with whom you agree
  15. Don't have favourites
  16. Don't do deals
  17. Don't accept gifts, the bill will usually end up on your doorstep one day
  18. Don't make exceptions
  19. Respect privacy

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