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Blog Posted in avatar   James Mechan's Blog

How to Get Into Journalism

By James Mechan
Posted Aug 17, 2012 in Business
Journalism by its very nature is competitive as some journalists receive celebrity status heightening the appeal for many. However if you have a journalism or English degree, if you can think fast and stay sharp all you need are a few great contacts, a good portfolio and a nose for a fabulous story to break into the journalism field.
Start Local
Every journalist started somewhere and your local area is a gold mine. Even if you only sell a story to the local newspaper you will be able to build your portfolio giving you credibility amongst the media circle. To sniff out a story locally you need to believe in yourself as a credible journalist. Familiarize yourself with the neighbours, sniff out information that may enable you to sell a story. Some journalists will knock on doors just to gain one titbit of information that may or may not be used in the final piece.
You can also read the local paper and see if any stories would warrant a follow on piece, such as a front page headline that declares the local car park receiving an application for planning for a supermarket. Follow up, see if there have been any developments, assess if the supermarket has won planning permission and then interview local people for a range of views before deciding the best angle. The follow up may not be front page news but it will be of interest to the readers.
Expand Your Horizons
Once a registered company pays for your story (any story) you can then join the National Union of Journalists and apply for a Press Pass. The press pas will give you access to events and conferences that you’d usually be barred from, then using the power of words you can create great pieces using what you learned. If you’re fast, have an army of contacts and can get your story to the editor before your peers you are in with a great chance of landing the lucky break you deserve.
Expand Your Circle
Networking is crucial as the more people you meet the more contacts you’ll gain. Press conferences, journalism courses, and conventions will all put you in touch with people who share the same vision. Until you are writing for national magazines and newspapers try not to worry about the competition as you need every contact on your way up. Also harness the online social networks such as twitter and Facebook as by following the right people and keeping a constant eye you can find information to enable you to sell a story. You can also share any published material written by yourself giving you the potential viral reach of millions.
Above all keep an eye on all news, look for the potential for follow up stories and if you have a great idea work quickly so you beat the rush. Build up email addresses of editors or even use the traditional method of the telephone, just don’t give up, success in journ

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