A reporter’s role is sometimes seen as a lowly occupation, but the truth is that a journalist must be multi-disciplined. The smaller the publication, the wider the range of skills needed. And these skills can be applied to other kinds of writing.
Whether you’re just setting out as a writer or have years of experience behind you, I recommend taking a job or internship at a regional newspaper.
While major publications may ask for a journalism degree, a small-town paper is likely to take you on if you can string words together while making coffee for the boss.
I was already an established freelance writer when I decided to take a job at my local newspaper, hoping to expand my skills. In fact, I was in my 50s, making me probably the oldest “cub reporter” in the business.
My predecessor had enrolled in a university course in journalism, hoping to further her career. Within weeks, she’d returned home, asking for her old job back.
“I’d done it all before,” she complained.
She clearly didn’t recognize what a valuable training course the role of junior reporter was. Unluckily for her, I’d already been appointed to her former post and I was learning the same skills she had while drawing a salary.Continue reading