There are several things that aspiring journalists should keep in mind to build a path to a successful profession. Tina Firesheets, a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record, offered our Reporting class the best tips she learned throughout her career as a journalist. They can be summed up in this list of ten helpful tips:
1. Don’t be intimidated. Learn as much as you can, do as best as you can, and then you will succeed.
3. Your major is not your life. Meaning, there are many paths you can take after graduating college. A degree alone means a lot. It’s how you hone your personal skills and where you apply them. Tina focused on PR in college but she became a journalist. Anything is possible.
4. Speaking of other chances, don’t give up. Keep knocking on doors until they open for you. If you really want a job with a specific publication/company/employer/etc., then continue to apply until you get it. Chances are, the more they see from you, the more you further the possibility of getting hired. In the mean time, build up your portfolio so it becomes impossible to turn you and your amazing work away!
5. Know where you are. Get to know the area you are working in really well. Make discoveries and educate yourself. That’s the only way to best represent your community’s voice, which is your job. Do it the best job you can by learning as much as you can!
7. If you are naturally curious, journalism is for you. This job can be fun if you like variety and stepping into other peoples’ shoes. You get to learn new things about different people all the time. It keeps things interesting.
8. Reporting can be fun, once you get good at it. Learn to love the quest for information and the interactions with your sources, and hone in their energy.
9. Keep your readers in mind. If you can figure out how to dig through loads of text and data to find what readers would want to know, then you’ve found your story.
10. Take note of themes. If you hear and notice something continuously recurring, then it’s important and note worthy. This should help to guide your focus.
I found this session helpful and beneficial, aside from just the tips. It made me realize that despite how, at this point in our college careers, it seems as if every step we make is vital and life-changing, that there is still room for change. Our steps will, of course, lead us somewhere, but not everything is set in stone. A lot of how we want our life to be is just determined from the choices we make as we go, which means we can make a change any time! As long as you love what you do and are constantly interested in your work, then you are in a good place. Thanks for the life motivation, Tina!