Should You Write For Content Mills Like Demand Studios?

     These days, lots of laid-off journalists and wannabe journalists are turning to so-called "content mills," such as Demand Studios, to find writing assignments. 
     But is it worth it? It depends.
     Such content providers are good opportunities if you enjoy writing as a hobby, if you want to build a portfolio or if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader in a particular subject area. 
     But they're not good opportunities for serious, professional writers. The time you invest on assignments isn't worth it for the meager pay. And there's not much room to express your creativity because often you'll be writing about pedestrian topics and required to follow strict writing guidelines.  

Study Abroad To Improve Your Journalism Job Prospects

Studying abroad can be a great way to give yourself an edge in the journalism job market or journalism internship hunt.
First, you can build your portfolio by helping out in a media outlet’s foreign bureau. Or look into contributing to English-language media in the foreign country. Many are severely understaffed and welcome the help.
“While the crunch on foreign news budgets may limit the amount of staff correspondent posts available, it presents a golden opportunity for upstart journalists,” said Jason Motlagh, a freelancer who’s reported from West Africa, the Caucasus and Haiti. “I’ve met many other full-time reporters who broke in simply by showing up at a far-flung bureau and asking to lend a hand.”
It will also give you something interesting to talk about when you interview for jobs or internships. Editors love young journalists who have demonstrated a sense of adventure and courage to go into foreign territories – skills that are very applicable to being a reporter.  I always got asked about my junior year abroad in Cairo.
Finally, you’ll gain perspective, learn about other cultures – and yourself – and have a lot of fun.

Modernizing Your Journalism Job Application

Increasingly, media companies are asking for applications to be sent electronically: either via e-mail or by completing an online form.
If you're reading this, surely you know how to e-mail a cover letter and attach your resume as a file to it. But how are you supposed to send your clips?
Scan and save your publication clips as PDFs that can be attached as e-mail files or uploaded to a website (like this). Upload broadcast clips to YouTube or (if over 10 minutes) Vimeo and e-mail the links (like this). While a newspaper or station may have posted your materials on its website, those links often expire, require passwords or cost money to access. So, make your own electronic copies of your work samples.
Better yet, create your own website and upload your portfolio to that (like this). You can even convert your resume into a webpage (like this). This way you won't inadvertently disqualify yourself from consideration for a job because an editor's using software that can't open your document file. Believe me, it happens. Moreover, you'll impress prospective bosses with your new media skills and separate yourself from other applicants.

How to Promote Your Blog or Website

These days, journalists need to be their own entrepreneurs and promote themselves – and their work – like a brand. There are many and varied ways to promote your blog and/or website to increase traffic. The 10 ways listed below are probably the easiest and most efficient ways. Plus, they're all free!
1. Word of mouth: this is a very basic and old school way of marketing but it has remained because it really is effective. All you have to do is tell all your family, friends and co-workers about your new site or blog and let them do the work!
2. Submit your site to search engines: this will ensure your site or blog is include in indexes for search engines and shows up when people do Google and Yahoo searches. See and
3. E-mail signatures: at the end of your e-mails, attach a link to your blog. Many e-mail programs, including Gmail and Adelphi’s, allow you to change your settings to automatically include a signature everytime you send an e-mail. Mine includes my name and contact info along with a plug for my website “Find journalism jobs, internships & more @”.
4. Social media: put a link to your blog or latest post on your Facebook page. When you post a video to YouTube, put a link in the description.
5. Twitter: there are two options. First, you can manually tweet about your blog using Twitter. You can post your own personal tweets with links to your blog posts, link to other people’s content, ask readers questions, etc. Second, you can set up an RSS feed using Twitterfeed. This is free and will do all the work for you. Basically, anytime you make a new post, a tweet will also appear on Twitter. You could also do a combination of the two: utilize Twitterfeed and also make your own custom tweets. See
6. E-mail organizations and people who are interested in your topic: I have a website about journalism careers, for example, so I e-mail journalism professors to let them know I have a website that might be useful for their students. E-mailing a professor may result in dozens of their students learning about my website. Likewise, I contact various journalism organizations, such as the Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists Association, in hopes that they will spread the word to their members.
7. Link exchanges: it is important to exchange links or get one-way links from relevant sites. The best way to do this is to manually search for websites and blogs related to your site and contact them for a link exchange. Use . When soliciting links, remember, flattery will get you everywhere. When you pay someone a compliment, it piques their curiosity in who you are. “Who is this person with impeccable taste?” Be honest and sincere in your flattery, but it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a compliment. Something like, “Hey, I liked your post about [insert topic] because [insert compliment]. I also have a blog that I thought you might be interested in because [insert why it’s relevant]. My blog’s URL is [insert Web address].”
8. Other blogs comments sections and forums: regardless of what you cover, there are likely Internet discussion boards and numerous blogs related to your topic. If you’ve got a post that you think relates strongly to something that another blogger has written about or that is the topic of discussion on a forum – leave a link to your own post. The key to pulling this off without being labeled a spammer is to leave a genuinely useful comment on the blog or forum. The comment itself should add value, be right on topic and contribute to the conversation. Then if you include a link introduce it with a ‘I’ve written more about this at….’ type comment rather than just a spammy call to action. Relatedly, many newspapers have likely, at some point, written a story related to your blog topic or one of your blog posts. And many newspaper websites these days allow readers to post comments about stories. You can do a search using Google News.
9. Write a press release: some press release services don’t cost anything and they can be surprisingly effective with a little luck. For example, see, and
10. Pitch mainstream media: some posts will have mainstream media appeal. Shoot a reporter at a paper, magazine, TV or Radio station an email – you might get lucky. For example, if you write about Adelphi’s theater department, you might email the theater critic or arts writer at local newspapers. If you cover Adelphi sports, you might e-mail the college sports reporter at Newsday.

How to Write a Journalism Resume

There are many different formats you can use when writing a resume for a journalism job or journalism internship, but here are a few guidelines:
  • Keep it simple and brief – no more than one typed-page. Even journalists with 20+ years experience manage to keep their resume to one page, so ther’s no reason a young journalists shouldn’t be able to do the same.
  • It should be informative, accurate and consistent in structure. Avoid gaudy resumes with unusual fonts or bright paper as they attract attention for the wrong reasons.
  • Include your name, address, cell phone number and e-mail address at the top, followed by a section that lays out your college and work/activities in reverse chronological order (so, most recent first), including dates. After your first year of college, leave off any high school experiences as they are usually no longer relevant.
  • It's unnecessary to state an objective.
  • Include any special skills, such as multimedia or computer skills. If you speak a foreign language at least conversationally, list it as a skill. Many employers are keenly interested such skills.
  • At the bottom list your education, including your college, major, expected graduation date and G.P.A. (if it’s above 3.0). Many career services offices will tell you to put your education information at the top of your resume. But, in journalism, experience (including internships and student media) usually matters more.
Here’s a sample resume:

How to Write a Cover Letter

There are a few dos and don’ts for writing a cover letter for a journalism job or journalism internship.
Generally, it’s best to keep it straightforward. Avoid gimmicky approaches as most internship coordinators and hiring editors have seen them all a dozen times. Also avoid the tale of how you got interested in journalism as it’s cliché. Instead, talk about what qualities and experience you would bring to the position and why you want the position.
Just like writing a story, you have only a sentence or two to grab the reader’s attention, so have a good lead. Avoid a standard opening such as “I am writing to apply for an internship at Newsday” as your opening sentence. Most applicants begin their cover letter that way and it’s boring.
Instead, try something like, “Having grown up in Long Island, written for a weekly community newspaper, served as news editor of my university’s student newspaper and developed strong multimedia skills, I am writing to apply for a summer internship at Newsday.” This way, right off the bat, you distinguish yourself from other applicants and tell the reader why you’re a qualified candidate.
After that, discuss why you’re interested in the position and elaborate on your experience and qualifications. End by including your contact info (e-mail address and phone number) and by stating that you’re available to meet for an interview (if you are). Keep the letter to one typed page or less. If e-mailing the letter, just paste in into the e-mail. For e-mail, try to keep it to a paragraph or two, as most people generally despise long e-mails. 
Finally, have your cover letter or e-mail proofread by a good writer.
Here are examples:

7 Ways To Get Bylines

     Don't wait until you're hired as a reporter to start acting like one.
     Getting articles published is vital to landing a reporting job. Most editors want to see four to six -- and sometimes many more -- samples of your work.
     "It shows much more to those hiring that you're ambitious about being published, rather than having a resume with a college term paper that never was published attached to it," said Joe Hight, managing editor of The Oklahoman. "And I can tell you it's a lot more exciting to see your byline in a publication than the grade that you'll receive for the term paper."
     While in school, develop a portfolio of good clips that demonstrates your journalism skills. Here's how:

Write for the school paper
     They'll typically give any student a shot at reporting.
     "It's odd to me when I receive resumes from intern applicants who don't have their college newspaper listed as work experience. The college newspaper is a great avenue to get bylines while having a great time and meeting lots of people in the process," Hight said.

Do an academic internship
Many schools award 12 or more credits for a full-time, semester-long internship in media meccas such as New York and Washington, D.C. Programs such as The Washington Center and Institute on Political Journalism provide internship placements, housing and scholarships.
     "This past summer two of our interns had front-page stories in the Washington Times, another covered the all-night filibuster in the Senate for the Washington Examiner, while another won a coveted spot with CNN's White House team," IPJ Director Joseph Starrs said.

Attend conferences
"Another strategy that I recommend is finding and applying to conferences, institutes or fellowships that have publications and/or Web sites attached to them," Hight said. "These provide great avenues for you to get a 'byline rush' or multiple bylines in a short period of time."

Write for whatever publications you can get to print your work.
     Consider nontraditional media. New online magazines or e-zines are invariably launching, and they're hungry for copy, according to Sree Sreenivasan, who runs the Columbia Journalism School's new media program.
     "Locate ethnic news media in your community," said Cristina Azocar, a journalism professor at San Francisco State University. "This is one of the fastest-growing sectors of news media."

Repurpose your school work
"The stories you write for a campus newspaper will involve students and faculty from a variety of hometowns," said Steve Buttry, a writing coach at American Press Institute. "Some of them may be of interest to those hometown papers."

String for your local paper
While at school, be a campus correspondent for the newspaper that covers your college town. During breaks, write for your hometown publication.
     If you're in a big city, such as New York, The Times likely won't return your call. But neighborhood weeklies, such as the Queens Chronicle, routinely accept submissions from student journalists.
     "Like most community newspapers, in fact newspapers in general, we've cut back on staff in the face of a sea change in our industry," said Gloria Stravelli, an editor at Greater Media Newspapers, a weekly community newspaper chain in New Jersey. "So, there is always a need for interns, freelancers, etc., to pick up the slack."

Internships are ideal
Many newspapers treat interns like staff writers and give them significant responsibilities. They often pay, too.
     "The Arizona Republic treated me like other staff reporters and expected me to perform on that level, as well," recalled Indiana University junior Audrie Garrison. "(I had) the opportunity to meet with Rudy Giuliani while he was in Phoenix on a campaign stop. You hear all these horror stories of interns having to make coffee and just run errands, but I don't think it's ever really like that with newspapers."

Journalism Job Interview Mistakes and Tips

"You're the worst one I've ever interviewed"
...and other things I've picked up while interviewing for the job
By Mark Grabowski

 Graduation looms and many soon-to-be journalism school alumni are scrambling to land a job. With limited opportunities, competition is fierce, and interviewing skills may make or break a candidate.
     Reporters may be in the business of interviewing people. But when they're in the hot seat, it can be a traumatic experience. Especially if it's a job interview.
     I know I haven't always made the best first impression.
     When I interviewed at the Philadelphia Inquirer, for example, I arrived two hours late. Despite the fact that I was in my hometown, I somehow got lost driving there. To make matters worse, as I was leaving, I accidentally hit a reporter's car -- with the hiring editor watching.
     Needless to say, I didn't get that job.
     At a job interview in Washington, D.C., the topic of politics naturally came up. I was highly critical of a certain lawmaker. The interviewer then revealed that was his nephew I was talking about.
     Didn't get that job, either.
     A Providence Journal editor seemed equally unimpressed with my interview skills.
     "Over the years, I've interviewed about 300 journalists for jobs here," he told me. "And it's safe to say, you're the worst one I've ever interviewed."
     I became physically sick immediately after that interview. You can imagine my consternation when I was offered the job two weeks later.
     So, if an interview goes bad, don't despair. Sometimes people surprise you. While making a good impression is important, many hiring editors will admit than an interview is just one of many things they consider when deciding whether to hire a reporter.
     As you interview, you'll figure out what's the best approach for you. Of course, the more you interview, the better you will get at handling interviews.
     In the meantime, take a look at the tips in the sidebar to help ensure that your interviews go better than mine.

Interview Tips:
·  Wear your best professional attire.
·  Bring a couple sets of resumes and clips with you to the interview. Don't assume your interviewer(s) will have them handy.
·  Arrive on time, and preferably early! If you're late for a job interview, an editor can't help but wonder what type of reporter you'll be when it comes to meeting deadlines.
·  Know the media outlet. Check out its Web site ahead of time, and be able to discuss things that you like and don't like about it. Understand how the newspaper or magazine sees its role in its community. What is its community?
·  Be confident, but don't be cocky. As an editor once told me, "To make it in this business you need to have a super ego. But that doesn't mean an over-inflated ego. There's a difference."
·  Make sure you sell your good points in the interview; this might require you steering the interview somewhat. But don't talk too much. Many editors like a give-and-take-type conversation. Listen carefully to what the interviewer says before responding.
·  Questions you may be asked to answer include: "Tell me your life story?" "How did you get interested in journalism?" "What was the best story you ever wrote and why?" "What would your co-workers or editors say about you?" "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" "Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?" "Why should we hire you?"
·  Come equipped with questions of your own, such as "What sort of feedback can I expect?" or "What type of professional development opportunities are available to the staff?" Remember, you are not just trying to sell yourself in an interview. You should value your professional development, so make sure the media outlet is a good fit for you.
·  If you want to separate yourself from other applicants, come equipped with story ideas. The more you have and the more developed they are, the better.
·  If your interview doesn't start out so well, don't panic. You can always recover. Sometimes recovering from a bad first impression can be better than making no impression at all.
·  If your interview bombs, don't dwell on it. Hopefully, the interview was just one of many things that will be taken into consideration when the hiring committee is deciding whether or not to hire you. Many editors also give your resume, clips and recommendations equal consideration.
·  Send thank you notes to all your interviewers afterwards.
·  If you don't get hired, remember, your try wasn't a waste of time. You got to see another newspaper or magazine and meet with other editors and/or reporters. The insights you gained from your visit and conversations you had with the publication's staff should add to your personal and professional development.

(Reprinted from May 2007 issue of Quill)

Journalism Internships: FAQs and Myths

·  MYTH:"The best internships are paid."
Not true. Some of the best internships are with media outlets that attract many applicants but don't offer compensation. But these opportunities can be the gateway to jobs because "experience" itself is prized by employers.

·  MYTH:"It's better to intern for a big name media company than a small one."
Employers look for the most qualified candidates to fill job openings. You might get to do a lot more substantive work for a small newspaper than a large national paper. Prospective employers are more likely to be impressed by the responsibilities you had than the name of the company you interned for.

·  MYTH:"I'm graduating this spring, so I should be looking for a job, not an internship."
Of course you should be looking for a full-time job. But consider doing an internship as a back-up plan. With the current state of the media and the economy, good entry-level positions might be difficult to come by. An internship certainly beats unemployment. And sometimes media companies hire interns who do a good job.

·  FAQ:"When should I start looking for a summer internship?"
Your strategy will vary depending on your goal. If your target is a big name company in a big city, start applying at least four months ahead of summer. Check company listings -- many have specific application dates, and some as early as eight months prior to summer! The summer internship application deadline for the Washington Post, for example, is November 1.

·  FAQ:"When should I start looking for a fall or spring internship?"
Allowing yourself at least a 10-week lead time is a good rule. If you plan to intern during the fall, you should launch your internship search no later than mid-June. For an internship beginning in January, try to get your resumes out by mid-October.

·  FAQ:"Why won't some companies allow me to intern unless I receive college credit?"
It's illegal for profit-making companies to have people perform work for no compensation. But federal compensation laws make an exception for college students who enroll for credit and intern in a field specifically related to their college studies.

How To Break Into Photojournalism

New photojournalism students need to understand photography is about nouns while photojournalism is verbs. At the highest level, photo stories have the same construction as news stories. There is a lead image, transitions, emotion and resolution. Throughout the story, characters, conflicts and motives are revealed, explained and concluded.
Still images remain the most powerful communication tool. Each still image can literally burn into the brain of a viewer. Images speak to every person in their own language. This power accompanies massive responsibility. Consequently, photojournalism is more than a vocation. It becomes a way of life.
Right now is a challenging time for the industry. Due to image superfluity and reduction of outlets, it's difficult for photojournalists to make a living. I won't discourage anyone from trying, but everyone entering the field must understand they must be better than established pros at everything. They need superior technical skills, a business plan, access, outlets and a unique style. They must capture stories the world has never seen, or be able to tell old stories better than anyone ever has.
Although the industry is in crisis, there has never been a greater need for ethical photojournalists. They must pursue difficult stories. Much of the news industry has been reduced to pop culture and delivery speed. Instead of following celebrity and entertainment, focus on the issues affecting everyone. Look for the emotion of the events unfolding in the world around us. People are hurting across the planet. Find the cause of the pain, and show the results to others. Whenever possible, show readers a way to help others.
The baton is being passed to a new generation of photojournalists. The future of the current "press" industry is uncertain, but something new must take its place to ensure our combined survival. Watch for innovations and embrace new technology. Be timely, but also seek the timeless.

Mark M. Hancock is an award-winning freelance photojournalist based in Dallas, Texas. His work appears frequently in national and international magazines and newspapers, brochures, annual reports and billboards. Previously, he was a staff photojournalist for for The Dallas Morning News (1996 - 2004) and The Beaumont Enterprise (2005 - 2008). To learn more about photojournalism, including where to find jobs and internships, visit his blog.

10 Tips For a Successful Journalism Internship

The first day of a journalism internship can be scary. New place, new people, new everything. Many summer internships offer orientation programs. They may vary from informal introductions to full-blown equipment training lessons. Or, you may be paired with a mentor who will show you how things work. Whether or not your internship has a formal program, here are 10 tips for success:

1. Know the media outlet. Even before you start your internship, regularly read the organization's website to familiarize yourself with the community and/or issues it covers, the type of coverage it provides and its writing style. Also read what others say about your media company: what's in trade magazines, such as American Journalism Review, or on websites, like Jim Romenesko's Media News. Once there, read the company's newsletter and talk to employees about developments at the company. Others will pick up on your interest and you will be treated like an involved employee.

2. First impressions count. Make an effort to smile and enthusiastically greet each new person you meet. It will pay dividends. You may think you won't remember them, but many of them will remember you. They may be less inclined to help you if you greeted them with slumped shoulders and a shrug on that first day.

3. Get oriented. Find out where to park, how to answer the phones and how to operate the computers. Be sure to find out whom your supervisor is and where your work station is located.

4. Know your schedule. If your supervisor doesn't set up a work schedule with specified work hours and days, ask for one. Get a typical start and finish time, although be aware this may occasionally shift because news can happen at any time and, consequently, journalists often don't work a standard 9-to-5 workday. If you're working six or more hours per day, you should get a lunch break. Once your schedule is set, stick to it -- don't ask for days off to write a term paper or to go to a concert. Hold up your end of the bargain.

5. Get organized. Write down important names and phone numbers as you are introduced to people, whether they be coworkers or sources for stories. Keep track of all your duties, assignments and due dates. Create a "To Do" list for the current day along with a calendar for later or longer-term assignments. If you have multiple things to do, ask your mentor or boss for priorities. Show your supervisor that you can be counted on to turn in an assignment ahead of schedule.

6. Do each job well. No matter how small, each task is important. Even menial tasks are necessary at a prestigious magazine or a popular newscast. Show your boss that you can be relied upon to do any job. Over time, you will be given more responsibilities. Responsibility brings opportunity, and opportunity opens the door to success.

7. Act professional. Be polite and courteous. Observe how the most successful employees spend their time and mimic them. Avoid inappropriate comments and offensive jokes. Erase that "party" message on your cell phone's voicemail. Be business-like.

8. Let curiosity be your guide. Ask a lot of questions. It's the only way to learn and it's the best way to get involved. After a few days, you should begin to figure out who will answer questions and who won't. Stick with those who are helpful. Avoid asking questions when people seem stressed. Instead, write down your question and save it for a less hectic moment.

9. Keep expectations in check. Remember, you are an intern, a beginner, the low person on the totem pole. Don't expect to go on business trips or to be given high-profile assignments. Everybody starts at the bottom. Be aware of boundaries. If you are in an unionized workplace, there may be certain tasks you aren't allowed to do. Also, if you don't know how to use a certain piece of equipment, don't try to use it until you've been trained.

10. Believe in yourself. Remember what got you the internship: all the classes you took, all the work you did, all the dreams you had. Not everyone gets this opportunity. Ultimately, your internship will be what you make it. That starts with valuing yourself and the contribution you can make. If you want your supervisor to believe in you, you must believe in yourself first.

Becoming a Journalist in the Digital Age

All of the gloomy reports about newspaper circulation rapidly dropping, network news ratings declining and reporters being laid off might lead you to believe that journalism itself is dying. But journalism is alive and well. It is just that the way reporters do their job is changing.
With the growing popularity of the Internet, gone are the days of print-only or TV-only newsrooms. Media companies no longer have to wait for the evening broadcast or tomorrow's edition to report the news. Almost all media outlets are breaking stories on their Web sites, and the news cycle has become 24-7.
Further Reading:

  • How to Get Articles Published

  • How to Hunt for a Newspaper Internship

  • How to Find and Apply for Journalism Jobs

  • Networking is Key to Job Search

  • Should You Attend Journalism School?

  • Journalism Job Interview Tips 

    Recommended Links:



  • UWIRE Career Center

  • Poynter Career Center

  • ASNE Careers

  • Journalists need to change, as well. Instead of thinking of themselves as only print journalists or broadcast journalists, they need to think of themselves as journalists, period. And they must be able to report the news in publication, online or in front of a microphone.
    But while the way journalists do their job is changing, the fundamentals remain the same and as pertinent as ever. Journalists today still need to be able to gather information and tell a story. Most importantly, they need to be able to think.
    A journalist's most important tool is not a notepad, tape recorder, digital camcorder, computer or even the ability to write a story. A journalist's most important tool is her brain. As a writer for the masses, journalists have to cut through the flab of all the information around. They need to question, question, question. What happened? Who does this affect? Why is this important? Critical thinking precedes good writing. 
     So, future journalists need to learn how to think. They also need to learn how to learn.
    The media isn't the only thing changing. The world of work is changing. More and more, people are becoming multi-skilled workers. They are having to manage lots of projects and priorities and develop new skills all the time.
    A graduate today can expect to still be in the world of work in 2050. The one thing that young journalists can be certain of is that they will be applying skills that haven't even been thought of today. They will have to relearn and relearn and relearn.
    Think you've got what it takes? Here are a few other things you'll need to break into journalism: 

    Attitude is Everything
    There are some fields that almost any semi-intelligent and college-educated person can get a job in. Journalism is not one of them.
    You don't have to be the next Hemingway, but a career in the media does require a certain talent. More than anything, it requires passion. You've got to really want to be a journalist.
    If you think you're going to go straight from college to the foreign desk of the New York Times or to sideline reporting for ESPN, you're delusional. Glamorous jobs like that require lots of hard work, experience and some lucky breaks.
    You may toil for years and earn peanutsnewsroom visit working at a tiny newspaper in the middle of nowhere before you get to the next level. From there, you may have to make a few stops before you finally reach your destination publication or broadcast station. But, before you can even get an entry-level job, you may need to do a couple unpaid internships. In order to get just one internship, you may have to send out 50 or more resumes.
    If you're unwilling to do all of that, step aside. With 200,000 students majoring in journalism at the moment -- the most ever -- there's a long line of people who happily will do the scut work.
    That's why it's important that you see journalism as being more than just a job. There are definitely easier and higher-paying jobs. But unlike other fields, journalism gives you an opportunity to expose lies, explain dangers, inform the uninformed and, occasionally, make a difference. At its best, journalism can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.
    But don't take my word for it. Find out for yourself. "I would visit some newsrooms -- in several media -- to see whether you think you could fit in," advises Joe Grimm, a longtime newspaper recruiter and journalism career advice columnist. "While you're there, ask the newsroom managers what they are looking for in new hires. Interview some reporters about the rewards and frustrations of the job."

    Developing Skills
    In order to distinguish yourself from all the other applicants going after the positions you want, you need skills and training that employers want. Being a good writer alone is not enough. Newspapers are currently laying off Pulitzer Prize winners. So, if you want to get a journalism job, you're going to need to be able to offers skills your employer needs -- namely, multimedia skills. All newspaper reporters now entering the profession will have to do online work.
    If your college isn't teaching you new media skills -- and many aren't -- there's nothing stopping you from teaching yourself. Recruiters will be impressed by such entrepreneurial activities and weigh them the way they do clips and a resume.multimedia journalism
    So, take a web design class or pick up a book like Building Web Sites for Dummies. Purchase a digital camcorder -- which costs less than an iPhone -- and toy around with video editing software that comes standard on your computer -- iMovie, if you have a Mac, or MovieMaker, if you have a PC. Expand your repertoire and expand your skills from there. It's really not as scary or difficult as you think.
    Of course, it's impossible to become an expert in everything. There's so much to know: how to record sound, how to shoot video, how to edit sound and video, how to write using search engine optimization, how to create slideshows, how to put it in Flash, how to create a webpage for all your content, etc. And, if you try to do all of that in addition to reporting, something is bound to be substandard.
    So, be realistic. Try to become a master of one or two multimedia tools, but knowledgeable of all. Your specialty may be Flash.  You might not be able to shoot video particularly well, but you should at least be able to recognize when footage is too grainy to be used.
    It's kind of like a liberal arts education. You study all kinds of different subjects, including art history. If you go into a museum, you may not know that painting is Cezanne from his dark period, but you should at least be able to recognize that it kind of looks like Impressionism.

    Getting Experience
    Equally important is experience. If you're interested in working in the media, doing an internship while you're in college is an absolute must. You can likely get academic credit for it. You may even get paid for it. 
     Most importantly, you will gain valuable hands-on experience that will impress prospective employers and give you an edge over other applicants when you're applying for your first job.
    "I can't emphasize enough the importance of summer internships," says Randy Hagihara, recruitment editor for the Los Angeles Times. "The more the better. In a competitive job market, editors will want to know that their entry-level hires will be able to hit the ground running -- on a wide variety of assignments."
    Journalism internships are offered by many newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations and websites, large and small. Students can intern as reporters, bloggers, photojournalists, production assistants, copy editors, multimedia producers and designers.
    Summer is the popular season for internships, although some media outlets offer them throughout the year. Some internships are part-time and last as little as a few weeks, while others are full-time and may run for several months.
    Many media outlets have a formal application and selection process while others arrange internships on a case-by-case basis. Some internships may target students from certain regions, schools or backgrounds. Check with each media outlet to find out its requirements.
    One final piece of advice on landing a journalism internship: apply early and apply often! Some applications are due several months before the internship starts. And competition is fierce.
    To find journalism internships, visit's Internship Guide.

    Don't Fear the Future
    If, after reading all this, you decide to pursue a career in journalism, be prepared for significant changes. But don't be afraid of what the future may bring. The media is in a state of flux right now. That's nothing new.
    The history of journalism is a history of technological change. Don't be scared away from the field by doomsayers who predict newspapers and network TV will soon die. Sure, the way journalists do their jobs may change, but there will always be journalism and a need for journalists.
    And, you can always use your journalism degree to do something else. The skills you learn as a journalist (researching, efficient writing, listening and observing, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, etc.) are easily transferable to and valued by many other professions. 

    Is Journalism School Necessary?

    Journalism school is a lot like chicken soup, someone once said. It can't hurt. But it's also a big investment of time, energy and money. So, you want to be 100 percent sure before you enroll (and that goes for any graduate school program).
    If you've already finished college and have no journalism experience, but one day decide that you want to be a reporter, then going to journalism school might be necessary. Journalism schools are full of former lawyers, teachers, Iraq War veterans and other professionals who wanted a career switch.
    Alternatively, you could try breaking into the profession by just reading books and freelancing. But that will probably only get you so far. To land a full-time journalism job, you'll likely need more substantive training.schools of journalism A good journalism master's degree program, even if it's just one year long -- as many are -- will provide that. Before you make the commitment, consider first taking a journalism course at your local university or community college -- just to make sure you like it.
    In some cases, it also makes sense for people with a journalism degree and some reporting experience to go to a graduate program of journalism. The rule of thumb is: "Can you get a journalism job you want with your current credentials?" If the answer is no, consider going back to school for additional training.
    It will make you more marketable. Instead of starting at a small media outlet in the middle of nowhere covering school science fairs, you might be able to land a job with a more prestigious beat at a bigger media outlet. Of course, even with a degree from the best j-school in hand, there are no guarantees of employment, especially in a skittish economy.

    Choosing the right journalism program

    If you decide to go to journalism school, look for a modern program that provides a hands-on education from veteran journalists.
    Some journalism programs are more theory-based and pedantic in their approach to journalism. Their faculty tends to consist of communication Ph.D.s, many of whom have never worked in the media. They're more interested in researching obscure media-related issues, such as "The Western Media's Portrayal of Dowry Practices in Papa New Guinea," than doing actual journalism.
    Sure, such programs may offer courses like Newswriting and Copy Editing. But imagine learning how to write a lead from someone who's never had a newspaper byline? It's silly.
    Journalism is like a skill or a trade; you learn it by doing it. That's why the top journalism programs tend to be run by former practitioners (many of whom are still very active in practicing journalism). Their professors usually don't have Ph.D.s, and some of them may have only a bachelor's degree. But they know journalism and you will learn a lot. They'll give you hands-on assignments and provide lots of feedback, so you can rapidly improve your reporting skills.
    They have connections to editors, news directors and recruiters at major media outlets all over the country. Their recommendations carry a lot of weight. Such programs also usually have their own career services office, or at least a career services person, dedicated to finding journalism students internships and jobs. Berkeley's and Columbia's journalism schools are such programs.journalism school There are many others.
    Second, be sure to find a program that's strong in new media/multimedia journalism. Many journalism students are woefully prepared for the real world because their programs do not teach them the latest skills they need. In addition, some programs are using very outdated equipment.
    With the growing popularity of the Internet, gone are the days of print-only or TV-only newsrooms. Media companies no longer have to wait for the evening broadcast or tomorrow's edition to report the news. Almost all media outlets are breaking stories on their websites, and the news cycle has become 24/7.
    Journalists need to change, as well. Instead of thinking of themselves as only print journalists or only broadcast journalists, they need to think of themselves as journalists, period. They must be able to report the news in publication, online and in front of a microphone.
    City University of New York has a new journalism school with a wonderful multimedia curriculum. And, because it's a public university, it's relatively affordable. Too many journalism schools, including some of the well-known ones, however, are stuck in 1999. They aren't teaching students the new media skills they need, such as web design, podcasting and video editing.

    Don't fear the future of journalism

    If you decide to pursue a career in journalism, be prepared for significant changes. But don't be afraid of what the future may bring. The media is in a state of flux right now. That's nothing new.
    The history of journalism is a history of technological change. Don't be scared away from the field by doomsayers who predict newspapers and network TV will soon die. Sure, the way journalists do their jobs may change, but there will always be journalism and a need for journalists.
    And, you can always use your journalism degree to do something else. The skills you learn as a journalist (researching, efficient writing, listening and observing, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, etc.) are easily transferable to and valued by many other professions.

    Networking is Key in Journalism Job Market

         Your dream newsroom job may be available right now, but there's a good chance you'll never know.
         Like virtually every other industry, many jobs in journalism aren't officially advertised.
         There are ways to learn about them. It's not easy, though.
         "Jobs in journalism are not much different from elsewhere in the private sector, in that word-of-mouth largely dictates how people move up, down and around," said J.T. Rushing, who last month was hired by The Hill to cover the U.S. Senate.
         "I got my job after flying up to meet the editor even without a job opening on the table, or an interview offer," Rushing said. "In other words, just making the effort to get your face known so you're not just a name in the editor's e-mail inbox was what did it. And then keeping in touch with regular updates. So, when an opening does come along, you're at the top of the editor's radar."
         Rushing has also found jobs in the usual places: classifieds in journalism-related publications and Web sites. Through, he landed his previous jobs at the Florida Times-Union, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Baton Rouge Advocate.
         Many media outlets use classifieds to recruit, but many do not, said Tom Engleman, program director at the New Jersey Newspaper Foundation. Posting a classified can be expensive. And it can take a lot of time to sort through all the resumes it generates.
         Instead, some recruiters say they spread the word about openings other ways. They talk to friends, post on listservs, recruit at job fairs, contact former interns or simply hire from within.
         That's why it's crucial for job hunters to network.
         "Journalism is a nepotistic business like every other business," said Cristina Azocar, a San Francisco State journalism professor and president of the Native American Journalists Association. "It's who you know. The more you attend conferences, network, put yourself out there the more people will know you. Always think of every person you meet, even those with less experience than you, as potential future employers or contacts."

    More tips for landing that next gig

    School ties can help: "Try to locate alumni working at places you are applying to," said Ernest Sotomayor, assistant dean of career services at Columbia University's journalism school. "Sometimes they will give you feedback and walk in your resume, if they like your work."
         Keep in touch with journalism professors: "Journalism professors have worked all over the world, and they know people everywhere," Sotomayor said. "A lot of people like to get recommendations from professors who can give them extra insight into a job candidate."
        Little touches can make a difference: "Don't forget follow-up notes to every conversation you have with anyone who might help you," said Leslie Anne Newell, assistant city editor and internship coordinator at the Arizona Daily Star.
         Keep tabs on departures at other companies; they might need a replacement: Remember, one job opening can create a ripple effect of job opportunities throughout the industry.
         "If a less experienced person sees a job posted for which he/she might not be qualified, but it is an organization at which they would like to work, the candidate might send along a cover letter of introduction," said Kathy Pellegrino, recruitment editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It might say something along the lines of 'I know I'm not qualified for the position you posted, but if you fill the position internally and are looking for candidates to fill that position, please consider me.'"
         If all else fails, try being unconventional: "This is a little far-fetched, but ... newsrooms often will have musicians who play local venues nights and weekends," Pellegrino said. "If the place where you want to work has such a group, you might want to find out where they perform and hang out there. People from the newsroom often show up to support the band and might help provide info about jobs and/or other info that might lead to job information."

    How To Start Your Journalism Job Search

          Commencement season is right around the corner, which means many soon-to-be graduates are now starting to look for their first real jobs. If you're in that boat, here's some advice for conducting your search:
         Begin your job hunt at least a few months before you plan to start working at your new employer. Even when newspapers and magazines are in hiring mode, they tend to move slowly when hiring reporters.

         Regularly check the major websites that list journalism jobs, such as, but don't rely solely on Internet job boards. Virtually every journalist looks at those websites.

         In fact, some employers won't advertise on popular jobs boards precisely because they don't want to have to sort through hundreds of applications. journalism jobs quote
         In addition, some employers don't post openings on popular job websites because those sites often charge an advertising fee. And some media outlets don't advertise their openings at all.

         That's why it's crucial to network. Many jobs openings are announced the old-fashioned way: word-of-mouth. So, talk to alumni and professors, attend job fairs and conferences and make cold calls to places you'd like to work at.

         Unless you see a help wanted ad that specifies "no calls," don't apply blindly for a reporting position. Instead, call or, better yet, e-mail the appropriate editor before you apply for a job. This will allow you to gather more info on the position, alert the editor to keep an eye out for your application and enable her to associate a person (or at least a voice) with it.

         Whom is the appropriate editor to contact? Some media outlets have recruiting and hiring editors who handle reporting applicants, other publications handle it through their human resources department, and still others will have you direct your application to a section editor, team leader or assistant managing editor.

         If in doubt, simply ask to speak to the person in charge of hiring reporters. Once you identify the appropriate person to speak with, introduce yourself and briefly give your background (i.e., "I just graduated college and interned at paper X and magazine Z").

         If you saw a job opening listed on the Internet, make sure the position is still open. If you want to work for a particular media outlet, but aren't sure if it has openings for you, find out what sort of opportunities are available for young reporters. If there's an opening you qualify for, ask how many clips you should send in.

         If there's something you want the editor to know about a particular clip -- i.e. you wrote a breaking news story at 1 a.m. in 20 minutes -- attach a yellow 'Post-it' note. Also be sure to include a cover letter, resume and a list of references. And find out if the editor wants anything else -- some newspapers will ask for an autobiography or other essays. Check the spelling of the editor's name. Then send out everything in a big manila envelope, unless the employer prefers e-mail.

         It may seem antiquated in the Internet Age, but sending paper through the mail is still the way the hiring game is generally played. An e-mailed application places the burden on the editor to print out your resume and writing samples. 

         But a few recruiters do prefer applications to be sent electronically. For such cases, scan your publication clips and save them as PDFs that can be attached as files to e-mail (Note: do not cut and paste the text of your story into MS Word and send that). Upload broadcast clips to YouTube and send the link. Even though your materials may be posted on a newspaper's or station's website, those links may eventually expire or cost money to access.

         After you apply, follow up with a call or (less intrusive) e-mail about 10 days later.

         If a publication you're interested in working for does not have or anticipate any openings, ask the hiring editor if you can periodically send her some of your stories. A friend of mine did this and eventually moved from a small newspaper to the Providence Journal, and then from the ProJo to the Wall Street Journal. Each move took 18 months, but it demonstrates that patience and persistence can pay off in your job search.

    5 Steps to Getting Your Journalism Internship

    1. Prepare: Update your resume and prepare your cover letters. Resumes should be clean. Neat, clearly written, factual summations, list of achievements (no “I”, “me”, “mine”). Plain white paper; avoid fancy or “script fonts”. Get your resume and cover letter proofed by Career Services, a favorite professor or a good writer your trust. One typo can spoil your chances! Cover letters should open with a sentence that includes the following information: a) that you’re seeking an internship for (when? Spring semester? Fall? Summer?); b) that you are available (2, 3, 4, 5) days per week – employers usually don’t care which days and that can be negotiated later; c) that you will be receiving college credit (if you are) and/or are willing to work for free (if you are).
    2. Target: Surf the Web, talk to friends, create your own “target list”. A good place to begin is’s Internships page. Create a “target list” that focuses on your career goals. A good rule of thumb for Fall and Spring is to apply for at least 10 internships; for Summer, apply for at least 15 to 20. If you want a paid internship, double the number of applications.
    3. Apply: Get your resume out there – the sooner, the better. Shoot for a 4-month lead time. Your resume is often the only way an employer knows who you are – so you’ve got to get the resume to them! Regular mail is fine, but some employers prefer e-mail or ask you to fax your resume. Follow the instructions that are given by individual employers.
    4. Interview: Employers will contact you either for a telephone interview or an in-person interview. This is a critical step. It is important for you to interview well and see yourself as a mature, serious student. Journalism internships are highly competitive. Contact your university’s internship director or Career Services office if you feel you need help preparing for this important step; they’ll often offer mock interviews. Note: many large media companies take a while to screen resumes – be patient, you may not be contacted for many weeks or even months. Keep track of where you applied, so a call does not “surprise” you.
    5. Accept: After you have received one or more offers, then you can accept an internship. This is usually done verbally – the employer simply asks you “Do you agree to this internship?” Don’t say “yes” unless you mean yes. If you are not sure, say you need time to think about it. If you’re receiving college credit for your internship, contact your university’s internship director once you have made a decision.