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Crowdsourced tips to landing your first, paid journalism job

Crowdsourced tips to landing your first, paid journalism job

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Jun 03, 2011
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02/03/2013

 
By Robert Hernandez,May 2, 2011
 
Okay, chances are this didn't really happen.I'm not sure how I heard this, but the story
 – 
false or not
 – 
stuck in my head when Iwas beginning my journalism career.The story allegedly goes that a young Herb Caen,who later became the legendary San Francisco Chronicle columnist, walked into a newsroom and asked for a job.The clerk asked Caen if he knew how to type.
Caen said no… but was hired anyway.
 Whether this actually happened or not, getting a journalism job these days is a bitmore challenging. When I started, aspiring journalists needed to have one, big
internship to get closer to landing your first job. Now, you need three or more…
or, you start your own publication.As a flood of new journalists graduate from J-School, I asked people to share theirexperiences in landing their first, paying journalism job and what advice they haveto offer newbies looking for their first job in this great calling.The crowdsourcing led to dozens and dozens of responses, the majorityanonymous due to an early decision I made on the Google form.You can see the unedited results here and read a collection of first jobs and earlier tips here.I did my best to try to break down the diverse responses into digestible takeaways.
 
What are the top three skills you think journalists need to get a job now?
 
Traditional skills dominated the list. A strong foundation on the basics like writing,
reporting, ethics, news judgement… and a few mentioned AP Style.
"Don't think your social media expertise or wildly-popular Hipstamatic photos willget you anywhere; AP style, strong English as both a writer and editor, researchand fact-checking skills, and news judgment will make you stand out (you'd besurprised how many people doze through reporting 101 and 202 in favor of theirmultimedia courses, or what-have-you)," said one participant.But of course, a close second is having basic technical knowledge. Know the tech,but more importantly know how to use it to tell a good story.Attitude and work ethic is a quality that stands out."Everyone is doing more with less these days, you'll be expected to work hard andfast and to do so with little hand-holding. You need to show a positive,enterprising, tenacious and competitive attitude."
 
Another participant said: "Proving you're willing to take on what nobody elsewants to, and doing it well. (You don't have to like it, but don't complain.)"These suggestions also stood out:"Don't just be a reporter or just a copy editor. Take some photos. Blog. Tweet.Blah, blah, blah. But, also, read the news. (It's shocking how many young journalists I know can talk endlessly about the latest tools but aren't caught up onwhat's happening in the world.)""Bullshitting abilities (resume, website, etc -- fake it 'til you make it)""You have no idea how much patience you'll need for this job, it really is a skillthat not a lot of people have.""Managing management"
What is the key to getting a journalism job?

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