Saturday, 30 August 2014

How To #17: How to Become a Journalist

Tell people you want to be a journalist and you’re often met with raised eyebrows and passing “oh…wow” comments- and not in a good way. Next thing you know, they’re hiding their phones from sight in case you start hacking in to them and reveal they’ve slept with their swimming coach, or something. But that’s far from what journalism is actually about. On the one hand, it’s about hours so long you feel like you might as well set up a tent in the office, an endless supply of caffeine, and ruthless editing cuts. But it’s also about meeting people from all walks of life, a constant buzzing atmosphere and literally creating a story out of nothing.

This year, I participated in a News Academy summer school for News UK and, without sounding too much like an X-Factor reject, was one of the best experiences of my life. But there’s no use me telling you about how to be a journalist. That would be like asking Victoria Beckham to give you advice on plus size clothing. So, out of the kindness of my heart, I will share with you some of the top tips of getting into the industry by some of the best journalists in the biz:


Gemma Calvert of Fabulous Magazine- tips on how to do a good interview

·         Research is key- make sure you gain a good knowledge of the person you are interviewing

·         Note key details about your subject. For example, if you are interviewing a celebrity- what are they wearing? What are they eating? Do they come across as nervous or confident?

·         Never start off on the tough questions. Address the topic, and then ask about their general opinion.


Mick Hume, Editor of Spiked- how to write 

·         Accuracy: Write the facts and remember the five Ws- Who, What, When, Where and How. What do you know about it? How do you know about it? Use reliable evidence to prove this

·         Brevity- Don’t use five words when two would suffice- be short and snappy

·         Clarity- Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then go back and tell them again.


These are just a few of the journalists that spoke to The News Academy last week, but I think the best advice about effectively getting a foot in the door comes Editorial Director of The Sunday Times, Eleanor Mills:

·         Be brave and keep pestering- persistence is key and is also recognised in the journalism industry.

·         Prepare to do what other people don’t want to do- that’s the only way you’ll get to do what you really want to do.


As for me, all I can say is the journalism industry is tough. There’s no doubt about it. But gain as much experience as possible, get your work out there and never give up.

Love Georgia x

For more information about The News Academy, visit their website at:



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