Tips for the Young Journalist from a Young Journalist

By George Culver

I feel like I pressed the fast forward button in my life. Time flies by so quickly and before you know it, you’re in the future.  One day you’re running late to your first college course and the next moment–you are running late to turn in your graduation requirements. Life flies by… but procrastination remains planted. Well for some of us, anyways. So this is my declaration to the upcoming journalist:  “It’s a new day, it’s time to get with the program.” Now let’s get to the heart of the matter. To be better prepared in the life of an upcoming journalist, it is time to step up your game. According to the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates, only about four out of 10 graduates were able to find jobs six to eight months after graduation.

To increase your chances of getting your desired career after graduation–you must get prepared. I’ve researched this topic thoroughly (because I must) and here are three necessary tools that will assist you along the way:

  1. You absolutely must be knowledgeable and experienced in using social media vehicles such as Facebook and Twitter. Employers LOVE this.
  2. Internships are the best way to get real world experience. Employers pay experienced workers. Kind of important don’t you think?
  3. Be yourself and establish your brand already! Know your voice and love it. Now get paid for all that natural talent :)

So let’s jump right in.

Remember those days when you sat in front of the computer, hour after hour, updating your Facebook statuses about your every move? Well those days are  about to come to an end. As far as I know, the entire United States and a good amount of people around the world are knowledgeable and experienced in using Facebook or Twitter. Operating social media is an important asset in the lives of successful journalist. Professor Doreen Marchionni, Communications professor at Pacific Lutheran University, explains social media’s importance in modern Journalism.

“Students who graduate college without knowing how to use social media in a professional capacity are at a disadvantage getting hired. Most media outlets–and even individual media producers–engage audiences in social media channels, such as Twitter .Employers assume you know the ins and outs of that engagement–how to grow and sustain an audience, how to properly engage audience members. A lot of job candidates also are finding out about jobs through those channels, so you ought to be networking there with potential employers”-Marchionni.

Well there you have it folks, knowing how to use Facebook and Twitter has benefited you in more ways than you think. Now I challenge you to begin to use Facebook and Twitter as vehicles to enhance your journalism skills. Post news stories. Tweet information regarding recent political change. Share your voice.  Tweet about the time and location of the “Watch the Throne Tour” featuring Kanye West and Jay Z. Use social media! Also, it’s very important to…come closer so I can whisper in your ear… come closer… a little closer… CLEAN UP YOUR FACEBOOK AND TWITTER, SILLY! Along with being experienced with social media, you must also be knowledgeable in using these tools professionally. Please, for your benefit, be experienced with the following on Facebook and Twitter:

  1. Know how to create and advertise events via Facebook. Journalist need to be experienced in advertising and promoting any Event via Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Please know how to use, and understand Twitter language such as “Retweet and Hash-Tag”.
  3. Present a formal and professional online presence. Redefine the motives of your Facebook or, create a separate account. Use this separate account as your Journalist account.

Just remember folks, your online presence is important to think about when pursuing your career. Having a poor online presence could be detrimental to your future. Depressing to think about right?! Fortunately, you have me 😉

Next.

Get out of the classroom and get an internship already. You could potentially run full force into a life changing connection. Who knows what can come from your internship? Shoot, you can take it over one day. Or at least get hired to become a weather reporter. Either way, internships provide real world experiences and the opportunity to network in the business.  I learned this lesson recently after a brief encounter with Bridget Turell, a veteran writer at Fox 13 in Seattle. As she rushed to edit stories and get everything in order for the 9 o’clock news, she preached about the importance of internships,

“I would say internships are not only important, they’re invaluable in getting a job in my particular industry, TV news.  Television is one of those things that is hard to replicate in a college classroom.The relentless deadline pressure, the ringing phones, the breaking news, and the equipment breakdowns… all those things happen while you’re trying to investigate, write, and edit stories… and still get the show on the air on time. Things can change so rapidly in TV news you’ve got to not only have a plan ‘B’, but sometimes a plan ‘C’ or ‘D’ as well, as in the case of a newscast following a baseball playoff game which could go short or long, causing your newscast to expand or contract.The value of an internship is that it gives a student a chance to experience all this in a small market where mistakes won’t mean the end of their career.  I did a six-month internship in Yakima and it was the best thing I could have done to start my TV career.”-Turell

How she managed to edit her stories while discussing the importance of internships without missing the deadline, is beyond me. That’s the life of a pro right? Not only are internships important for the real world experience, they also provide life changing networking opportunities. Get an internship. It could potentially change your life. Point. Blank. Period. Now it’s time to cover the final tip.

Create and nurture  your brand. It’s all about you! It is vital that you share your thoughts with the world. We all want to know what makes you tick. Opening yourself up will build a fan base which will aid you in putting your name out there. What easier way to accomplish this task then to create a blog. Blogging is one of the most efficient ways in establishing your online presence. You can let your voice shine through and express your ideas freely for the world to see and hopefully they will be interested by your work and style. This is the best way to establish your brand and what you are all about. ThatsTheJuice is an urban upbeat blog developed by an inspiring young journalist, Britney Freeman. Freemans blog caters to a large spectrum of individuals. From punk rock fashion updates to the newest hiphop joints, this blog covers the latest hype. This blog is pretty dope.  In a recent conversation Freeman recalls,

Jump to ThatsTheJuice by clicking here!

Blogger and creater of That'sTheJuice

“I first started my blog back in April. At first I didnt really know what to write about or if I should focus on one thing or keep it as a journal. I made a couple posts in a journal form and left it alone for a while. A few months later I listened to Kreayshawns mixtape and decided to write up a review about it. It was horrible and I thought that the hype revolving her one song should be stopped with some words from someone who actually sat and listened to her tape track for track. After having about 50 views in the first night of the post i was inspired to continue with write ups on music. I post videos, songs, a few personal posts about whats coming out the mouth of my hilarious father. Social media is definitely of importance today with it being so popular to the youth, prominent amongst adults also, and essential to businesses. I personally follow certain fashion lines or stores to get insider deals or be the first to know about a new product”

Well there we are folks. Today I have given you the best advice I received. I wish all you upcoming journalist out there the best of luck in your pursuit of happiness. If any of you have any more tips to share with your fellow journalist, I beg you to leave them in comments below!



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4 replies

  1. dude this is pretty well written. good effort!

  2. …YOU… SIR… ARE A STAR… SHINING BRILLIANTLY IN THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU!!! I am blessed to know you and can’t wait to see how far you go, George!
    Much L-O-V-E!

  3. Good Job George! Big things in your furture!

  4. I don’t think you can overemphasize this statement if you’re serious about getting a decent job:

    “…your online presence is important to think about when pursuing your career. Having a poor online presence could be detrimental to your future”.

    Well done, Mate.

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