A journalist writes news stories for a print newspaper, online newspaper, or website. Journalists can write a specific beat, that is, following a specific topic, or cover a variety of news stories.
The journalist has to be a strong writer who can identify a newsworthy story and report the facts in a concise and compelling manner. They need to filter their opinions out of the story, and write as to the point as possible. Editors often have to cut content, which is why it’s important to lead with the most crucial parts. Journalists have to keep in mind that there are specific formats to worth within, and if they want to have their stories published, they have to work within these constraints. They should also be able to dictate stories in an appropriate format as breaking news often puts them on a time crunch. “Writing” from the field may consist of simply telling your editor the story.
Journalists can work independently, in house, or as “stringers” which are reporters that are assigned stories by larger news factions based on location. They often report to an editor or senior editor, sometimes specific to their beat if necessary.
Journalists should be able to work under pressure, and adapt to a variety of situations. If you’re looking for a 9-to-5 position, this is not the job for you. While writing is generally a creative process, you’ll need to be able to separate analysis and opinions from your work. You’ll also need to be receptive to criticism and changes to your stories and your work has to fit in a much larger picture.
If you’re considering applying to be a journalist, your resume will need to show that you know what constitutes a newsworthy story, understand the fast pace and overall environment of a news room, and are a stronger writer. Previous writing experience and internships are important to have established, and you’ll want a portfolio of your work available as well. Your resume should also demonstrate your versatility and ability to adapt to unique situations on a dime.
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