Strategically minded Spinebreaker Gesbeen breaks down the steps necessary to get your name in the papers… for the right reasons!
As a third year journalism student at City University London, it has become apparent that self-educating before entering higher education is crucial for aspiring journalists.
With the birth of the Internet, writers and journalists have come upon a realisation; never has it been so easy to be a writer and yet never has it been so hard to become a professional writer. Anyone can blog, but there is a major difference between blogging to advance your career and blogging for fun. That is the writing style or narrative, if you like.
Blogging with the aim of writing to journalistic standards, will make you stand out of the massive blogosphere and possibly get you on the career ladder. Remember, excellent articles, short stories, and information are published online for free non-stop. The publishing industry is running out of money, no longer does interning for half a year at a paper guarantee you a salary.
The Web provides great platforms for young writers and journalists, such as Spinebreakers for 11 to 19 year olds, allowing creatives to get content published before even entering higher education or work. For those who wish to make writing a career one day, you’ll struggle much less with a portfolio to show the scary interviewer.
If you want to see bylines with your name in publications, here is some advice regarding how to start improving your writing style now!
One of journalism’s cores lays in objectivity, meaning the journalist often is an observer as events take place. The simplest thing a young journalist can do at this stage, already, is remove the I’s from the copy. Why? Generally, less so in blogs, as a journalist, the writing should be a reflection of the event; the news. Unless, you are writing a column or post about your experiences and journey, it is far-more interesting (but more challenging for the writer) without the I’s. Harshly, as one of the lecturers put it; ‘’ We don’t want to see any I’s, you are not interesting.’’
2. Read, Read, Read
Always remember to read, whether it’s newspapers or fiction. If your bookshelf is stacked with Hemingway, Orwell and Woolf, you can apply the literary styles used to feature writing. More importantly, reading expands and activates the mind, eventually creating new ideas.
3. Be descriptive in feature writing
‘’Show, don’t tell,’’ the most eye-opening advice one can give. Imagine reading a novel, written like, ‘’ The scenery was beautiful. It smelled nice. I was going to see my wife. But there was a car accident.’’ What made the scenery beautiful? How did it smell nice for the protagonist? How did the car accident make his journey home troublesome, how did it ruin his day? Allow the reader to see what you saw. Provide imagery, whether it is fiction or journalistic writing.
4. The Big No-No
Repetition, often a sign of a lack of confidence in writing, is a narrative-killer. Avoid at all times. Make a point in a paragraph and move on, don’t try and hammer the same idea into the reader’s head.
Once you’ve started the process of improving, the to-do-list extends. Intern at organisations, where you see yourself having a career one day; you’ll learn an awful lot and by the time you’ve graduated from university, you’ll be equipped with skills that university alone can’t give. With relevant experience and a perfected writing style, the bylines will be yours!