Jolly Jazzy Journalists: Everything You Need to Know

Ever wondered if you’ve got what it takes to hack a career in journalism? We’ve got the facts to help you decide...

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Reckon you could come up with a catchier headline than this one (left)? Congratulations! You’re already a better journalist than the mad octopus with a keyboard who wrote that. But there’s a bit more to journalism than that...

So... what do journalists do?

At the barest of it’s bare bones, journalism is writing stories! The only catch is, they have to be a little bit true (although some journalists are masters of ‘stretching’ the truth thinner than a very thin wafer biscuit) and it helps if you get the story published before anyone else.

‘A scoop’s kicker should be above the fold and save your pork for later’ - Decoding journalist lingo:

  • Scoop: An exclusive, or a first published story.
  • Above the fold: The visible area of a broadsheet (read ‘big’) newspaper when folded in half.
  • Pork: Material not used in one story but held on to in case it’s useful another time.
  • Kicker: The opening lines of a story; usually in a bigger font than the rest of the article.

Okay, I’m interested. What else do I need to learn?

There’s a lot of research involved in journalism, and it’s all about speed. If you’ve got crooked thumbs from all the time spent scrolling your Twitter feed, you’re doing a great job already (bet no one’s told you that before).

Journalists work faster than a speeding typewriter launched from a cannon once they’ve found a breaking news story - but it’s not just limited to newspapers! Online blogs, TV news, sports features, music reviews, photography - they can all be forms of journalism. Take your pick!

Can I practice right now?

You know the answer is going to be yes, don’t you? Set up a blog and write articles covering anything and everything; practise writing in different styles and come up with catchy headlines. Find out if your school/town has a local newspaper you could write for and show off your skills!

Cool Stuff Journalists Do:

  • Meet celebrities! Journalists regularly interview famous people, so keep an eye on 5SOS’s movements at all times (within reason, no restraining orders now).
  • Travel all over the world! If you’re covering a story about exploding shoes in Mongolia, venturing to far flung places is part of the deal.
  • Be smug about how clever they are! Well, what’s the point of always being so up-to-date and knowledgeable if you can’t show off a bit?

    Wonted: Gud Ritters.

And that’s it from our bank of knowledge. Journalism is super competitive, so you’ll need to rack up lots of experience before trying to secure a job; ensure your spelling and grammar are immaculate and get writing!