Photo by baatarscc on Flickr.
The site I just created — So, you want to be a journalist — is like an advice column combined with the “most likely to succeed” section of a high school year. I designed it for a group of first-year undergrads at UBC.
(Note: I can’t take credit for the good taste: I generated the list by asking my peers for their recommendations.)
The site is self-explanatory, but I simply have to highlight how much street cred the advice-givers have earned in their relatively short careers.
Bethany Horne beat mainstream media giants on a major G20 story. She was among the very first to report that the police had been granted more powers to search, detain and arrest people in and around Toronto’s downtown security zone.
Jesse McLean was entrepreneurial enough to get to Haiti with an NGO while interning at the Toronto Star. At the age of 22, he was one of the first Star reporters to get there after the earthquake, then turned in assignments that showed skill past his years.
Allison Cross, Leslie Young, and Kate Allen were all part of a documentary team that won an Emmy for their film on e-waste. While still in J-school, they earned one of the highest honours you can earn for investigative journalism, beating out established heavyweights like 60 minutes and Nightline.
Bottom line: If you want to get into journalism, you want to read what these fresh minds have to say:
All the following posts are available here.
- Filter everything for yourself, including this advice. Advice from William Wolfe-Wylie
- To write interesting work, you have to be interested. Advice from Leslie Young
- You have to love it. Advice from Lauren Pelley
- Come to grips with the worst case scenario. Advice from Arden Zwelling
- When you think you’ve worked hard enough, work harder. Advice from Lucas Timmons
- J-school isn’t the only option. Advice from Tamara Baluja
- Get inspired. Respect your audience. Think ahead. Advice from Bethany Horne
- Live an interesting life. Advice from Jessica Linzey
- Don’t do it for fame or fortune. Advice from Liem Vu
- Ten things you can do right away. Advice from Dylan C. Robertson
- On student papers, digital footprints, and the art of networking. Advice from Sarah Millar
- Focus on your own journey. Advice from Evan Duggan
- Constantly update your skills, and never stop writing. Advice from Nick Taylor-Vaisey
- Cross-platform ‘clippings’ are key! Advice from Erin Millar
- Take every opportunity (even those that aren’t paid!) Advice from Devon Wong
- Be relentless and build yourself a name and a niche. Advice from Amanda Ash
- Pay close attention to your world. Advice from Chloé Fedio
- Don’t wait until you’ve graduated. Advice from Jesse McLean
- See if you enjoy writing for an audience. Advice from Beth Hong
- Be part of the student press, and get on twitter. Advice from Stuart Thompson
- Just do it. Advice from Rebecca Lindell
- Get outside the classroom. Advice from Adrian Morrow
- Learn by doing and learn to pitch. Advice from Kate Allen
- Be flexible. Advice from Allison Cross