T-shirt: customised at zazzle
You’ve probably got a pretty daunting reading list that you know you ought to plough your way through
But nobody does that. And you don’t need to.What you do need to do now, if you want to be ahead of the game when your course starts, is learn some essentials.
Here are eight things that, if you tackle them now, mean you’ll find the first few weeks of your course plain sailing.
You’ll find a short explanation of each item on this screen, plus links so you can find out more.
The links go either to further screens in this masterclasses, or out to other resources in the MMJ project.
Some are outside the paywall, for others you’ll need to become a registered user to gain access. To do that, you need to buy the book in print or ebook form. You can do that here for the USA, here for the UK.
1 Learn to write a news story following the inverted triangle methodThat means, knowing that every story must answer these six essential questions about the event you are reporting on:
Who What When
Where Why HowAnd these questions need to be answered in a structure we call the inverted triangle or pyramid, which has these four elements within it:
You’ll find a detailed demonstration of how such a story is written in this masterclasses, on the screen called Learn to write a news story following the inverted triangle method
Plus there are loads of real-life examples of how news stories are written in Chapter 1 of the print/ebook versios of Multimedia Journalism, with supporting links and material on the immersive website here.
2 Develop a beat or specialismThe days of the generalist are over. Being a bog-standard news reporter is a dead end job when so much general news is available, and when such a low price is put on it.
To offer value, and material that people are prepared to pay for, you need to become an expert in a particular field - to cover what we call a beat, or specialism.
That might be movies, music or fashion. It could be health, education or politics.
Maybe you have no idea what specialism to choose.
If so, just pick a subject – ideally something you are passionate about – and make covering that area your way of learning to be a good journalist.
We’ve covered 12 specialisms in depth in previous MMJ masterclasses. You’ll find an introduction to them, plus advice on how to choose a specialism and how to begin covering it here.
3 Begin to develop your personal brandThere has been a fundamental shift in the way journalists establish themselves as reliable, authoritative reporters and commentators.
In Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present, Clay Shirky, Emily Bell and CW Anderson said this:
“[There is] a new reality for journalism school grads in which the first step in their careers will not be to tie their reputation to an established media institution, as they might have in the past, but to create their own reputation.
“Already, journalism schools are more like film schools than law schools, which is to say that the relative success or failure of a J-School grad is going to be far more variable than it used to be
“There are fewer entry-level jobs than there used to be.
“Like film school graduates, they will have to go out into the world and create a name for themselves. It's a far less predictable environment and the career paths are less clear.’”
We take a look at doing that in this masterclasses on How to build your personal brand.