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Journalism has changed a lot in recent years and is not all about newspapers, magazines or news reports on television. Internet and social media have seen news items and articles presented online. Quality journalism is still highly sought after though.
Journalism - specific journalism writing skills, scripts, news writing, reporting
General writing skills - grammar, punctuation, sentence structure
Non-fiction writing aids - tools and techniques, layout for different types of publications, use of style templates, vocabulary enrichment
Planning work - working out duration, word count, use of headings, where to put information, what information to use
Organisation skills - when & how to work, time management, goal setting, working to deadlines
Research - understanding your subject material, fact checking, spell checking
Communication - liaising with agents, publishers, editors, media, interviewing clients
Technical skills - understanding IT, computers and software, publishing platforms, printing, websites, social media
For some journalists their career starts as a hobby. They may write for the school newsletter, or maybe produce their own magazines and distribute them to friends and family. Some may begin an online blog where they write about current affairs or issues which affect them, or they might join a debating society where they can voice what they have written.
Some might join local writing groups and practice news writing, others might volunteer to work for the local newspaper or free papers to get exposure to writing. Just taking any opportunity to write will help.
Having gained some experience it may be possible to get a paid position with a magazine or newspaper, perhaps just writing a short weekly column. It might not be where you ultimately want to be but taking a job working for a construction magazine could lead to work for a magazine you prefer, and then that leads to another journalism role.
Journalists who continue to update their skills and knowledge will be best placed to progress their career. The changing nature of the industry means that it is wise to learn about different media platforms and different ways to write so that you have the greatest flexibility.
There are opportunities to work your way from casual work to advanced positions, but only those who strive to improve will get there. The most reliable ways to improve your chances include:
Joining relevant trade associations
Attending workshops and seminars
Learning about the latest technology
Networking with other journalists and related professionals
Taking professional development courses
Any opportunities to practice and learn will help you to advance your career. There are many online courses where you can present written work and get feedback from experienced tutors to help you hone your skills.