There is no easy answer to the question, “How do you get a journalism job”. I wish there was. I started in journalism 30 years ago when the choices were much simpler. In the early Eighties, the choice was between print or broadcast. I chose broadcast, but ended up working in print and I’m now the TV Editor on the Sunday Express in London. How did I get my first job?
It wasn’t easy. My very first writing job was with a radio station in the central NSW town of Orange. I lived in the nearby town of Bathurst where I was attending college. We were encouraged to seek freelance work as “stringers”. This is a local freelance reporter. I rang the “news director” at the station to ask if I could be the local stringer for Bathurst. He said he would “give me a go”. My job, one day a week, was to buy the local Bathurst newspaper in the early hours of the morning, find the best story, and then write a radio report for the Orange radio station, called 2GZ. I generally had about half an hour to do this, after buying the paper. It was all a bit helter skelter. I would hastily write the story before reading it down the telephone line as a radio report. It was a great experience. I eventually used a reference from this once a week job to get my first proper job.
Initially, the best policy is to think locally. Try to find experience on any local publication, or website, where you can make contact with someone in person. Meeting someone, face to face, is the best way to impress them with your enthusiasm and hunger to be a journalist.
In my course, I write about “determination & dedication”. These are qualities that will make you both a good journalist, and give you the ability to find a job. News editors and editors will see this quality immediately. Success in journalism comes from self-starters, those who can see a story and make it work.
You will be pleased to learn, however, that you can make your own luck in journalism. Persistence counts for much. Do not give up. Keep pushing. But also offer something to those you are annoying for a post, or work experience. Tell them a story you would like to research. Give them a lead.