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A career in journalism offers a fast-paced environment where every day on the job is different. A person looking to enter the news business will need to have impeccable writing and interviewing skills, a keen news sense, the ability to meet tight deadlines, and a college degree. To break into journalism, a person must be willing to start at the bottom, perhaps as an unpaid intern, and be willing to prove himself as a worthy reporter. A budding journalist must be willing to work odd hours and network with editors, other journalists, and various contacts within the community.
A college degree will often be required for a job in journalism. A bachelor's degree in journalism or communications will often be enough to land a job. Earning a master's degree in journalism or communications can improve a person's chances to break into journalism.
While in college, a person can gain journalism experience working for his college newspaper. Gaining an internship while in college also can go a long way for a person to land a job in journalism. While internships are often unpaid, or pay very little, they provide an opportunity for a person to work at an actual newspaper magazine, or TV station. Internships also allow a person to build a portfolio and develop contacts in the journalism field that could come in handy down the road.
After earning a degree, a person will need to continue to write. Local newspapers are a good place for a person to hone his journalism skills. Local newspapers hire reporters to cover various meetings including school committee, city council, or planning board meetings. Another way to break into journalism, especially sports writing, is to cover local high school football games or other local sports. Working at a local paper is a perfect opportunity for a person to learn how to deal with deadlines while developing a body of published work.
A person looking to enter the journalism field will need to network to find a job. Potential journalists should begin making contacts as soon as high school or college. Along his career path, a person should maintain relations with professors, college editors, and other journalism professionals who might have contacts that can lead to a job.
Finding a mentor can go a long way to help a person to break into journalism. Many experienced journalists remember what it was like when they started in the field and are willing to take a person under their wing. A mentor is someone who can pass along his experience and serve as a sounding board. A person looking to enter the journalism profession must be willing to ask a journalism veteran to serve as a mentor.
Believe it or not, a great way to break into print journalism is to sign up for a job on the obituary desk at a larger newspaper. That'll get your foot in the door at least and will give you a good idea of what goes on in a working newsroom. From there, you can start applying for writing jobs or taking some on here and there to get some experience.
More than one college kid has started a journalism career at the obit desk and has moved on to being a reporter as he or she has gained more experience and education.
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