If you are young and you have visions of one day becoming a journalist, the good news is that this is one of the few careers which you can practice for in great depth before you have even studied the subject. We spoke with the brilliant Boston journalist James DeVellis on how you can be working hard in your free time to master the skills which you will later use in your role as a journalist. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing.
To really get to grip with how you should be writing and to find a writing style that suits you, practicing writing a wide variety of stories can really help you out. When you do this you should practice on a number of different column lengths, for example if you write a story about a fox causing problems on a chicken farm, try to write a 300 word, 500 word and 1000 word piece. The reason for this is to learn how to tell the story as best as you can within the word confines, this will help you to become more succinct and offer better value.
Another great idea is to look at stories which are currently taking place, this could be a sports story, a political story or a story about a celeb. Read a number of different versions of the story and use these as your sources. Once you have a rough idea of what has taken place, re-write the story in your own words and try to make it as compelling as you possibly can.
Finding the Truth
Many newspapers and magazines like to be sensational in order to sell copies but the truth is often sacrificed in favor of the drama which wrongful allegations can bring. Unfortunately however, we see in many cases that accusations of wrongdoing or misconduct is completely false, and that a claim has simply been made against someone for personal gain. Why not spend some time trying to get to the very root of the story, in order to find out whether or not it is actually true.
There is absolutely nothing to stop you writing to your local newspaper to see if they will allow you to spend a day or two with them, in order to better understand how this industry works. As long as you are not causing any problems, many local outlets will allow you to spend a few hours with them where you can get to know a little more about the process of journalism, and hopefully learn from some of the mean and women that work there.
If you have a real desire to be a journalist then these are some great activities which can help you define what your style is, and what kind of journalist you want to be. No matter what stage you are in your education, these are tools that can help you until you manage to get a position.
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