Journalism will never die as long as the world has news to report and requires someone to report it. The digital age might be hurting journalism in its traditional form, but something unequivocally better may be on the verge. For those of you who have doubts about thrusting yourself into the wild and wonderful world of journalism, look no further to end your questioning.
1. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat.
If you’re like me, you have a natural thirst for knowledge. I constantly ask “why?” in my head, but as a journalist, I get to ask those questions out loud. It takes an inquisitive yet sensitive type of person to get information out of people. If you love to gossip or coaxed your older brother into telling you where your mom hid the Christmas presents as a kid, you’ll likely be a stellar reporter. Just don’t repeatedly punch your subject in the arm to get the information out of them or else they’ll also tell mom on you.
2. Say goodbye to the cubicle.
Being a journalist allows you to work remotely. You don’t need to spend your days in a lab or an office filling out those TPS reports like other professions require. As a freelancer, depending on your beat, you have the freedom to write from home, coffee shops or maybe even the beaches of Brazil. If you really want to satisfy your wanderlust, write for a publication like National Geographic or Sunset – they’ll jet you off to cover stories all over the world.
If you’re a journalist, you hear about things right when they happen. In other words, you hear before everyone else…#Braggingrights. Journalists know what happened, why it happened and who caused it. If you’ve always wondered why things are the way they are or the backstory that the general public doesn’t know, journalism positions you for insider access.
4. Feed your narcissism.
When you see your byline or bio in print, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride. It’s exciting to know that a simple Google search will prominently present your professional portfolio and even maybe push that “other” stuff down. You’ll have the opportunity to quip “just Google me” when someone asks to see your work.
5. Build a network.
As a journalist you talk to new sources daily and your network builds exponentially. Not only can this network offer future story ideas, but they can also help with potential job opportunities. Through the interview process, you establish a rapport with people and because they already trust you, they are more willing to help you out.
6. You speak good.
Prepare to crush your competition in “Words with Friends.” Journalists develop a knack for finding the perfect combination of words to get their point across, so naturally your vocabulary will grow. Discover new ways to use the English language and embrace your inner logophile.
7. Learn new things.
As a journalist, you learn what works, what doesn’t and why. Discoveries are around every corner. It also teaches introspection. You challenge yourself, discover your fears and desires, and learn about yourself and your role in the world. Several years ago I had an internship editing poetry and prose written by incarcerated youth for a bi-monthly publication. Reading the words of young people who had lost everything and being able to contribute to their growth instilled mutual inspiration and reflection.
8. Tell stories for a living.
Besides Britney Spears and professional taste-tester, storyteller was my dream career as a kid. I told elaborate, imaginative stories and even wrote them down. I just didn’t know it was a real career until I got older. If you’re a natural born storyteller, you’re in the right place.
9. Take a walk on the wild side.
Journalism will introduce you to exotic foods, new bands and new places. Be prepared to embrace your inner wild child and go out of your comfort zone. I recently got the opportunity to report at a major music festival. Although covering such a massive event was nerve-wracking, it opened my eyes to a corner of journalism that I had yet to explore.
10. Become a people person.
You’re given the opportunity to meet all kinds of people. You wouldn’t cross paths with these people under any other circumstances, and they can really challenge your perspective on life and teach you what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. You don’t just get to know the people you interview, but your audience too. You learn to understand what piques people’s interest, what makes them laugh, and what tugs at their heartstrings. You know how to entertain and even persuade the masses.
11. Get creative.
Hate writing essays? Me too. That’s why I’m not an English major. Instead of analyzing the written words of long ago, journalists develop innovative ways to deliver words to tell new and exciting stories. Prepare to release your inner wordsmith and level up your game.
12. Enjoy the perks.
A journalism degree doesn’t promise the highest salary in the world. Instead, celebrate the perks. You go to events for free and try new products before anyone else. Welcome to the world of press passes and plus ones; getting front row seats and backstage access never gets old.
13. Achieve desirable skills.
No matter what path you take after graduation, you will have communication and writing skills that are invaluable across any industry. Whether you decide to become a foreign correspondent, work for a PR firm or start your own magazine, the skills you learned in j-school will give you the confidence to succeed wherever post-graduate life takes you.
14. Browse Facebook and Twitter on the job.
Constantly being in the loop is critical to any successful journalism career. You already surf the Internet, have a strong social media presence and read interesting articles, so why not get paid for it. Now your job description includes retweeting and blog-browsing.
15. Find inspiration everywhere.
Even banal activities like your morning commute or going to the grocery store could give you several story ideas. As a journalist, the world is at your disposal. Everything has a story; you just need to find it.
16. Voice your opinion.
Opinionated? Get your voice heard through your writing. You have the ability to change the public’s perspective. They don’t say the pen is mightier than sword for nothing, folks.
17. Rub shoulders with celebrities.
Journalism is a good route to take if you want to get the inside scoop on the rich and famous. If you’ve always wanted to hobnob with Hollywood’s elite, interview successful politicians or pick the brains of sports stars, why not make a career of it and maybe get some recognition yourself? I’ve had the opportunity to interview several band members since I declared my major. Though they were down-to-earth and I remained professional, it was hard to stifle being starstruck.
18. A whole new world every day.
The phrase “just another day at the office” doesn’t exist in a journalist’s lexicon. We’ve been told that journalism hangs on by a thread. Truthfully, journalism perfectly exemplifies constant supply and demand: new things happen every day, and people need to know about them. Just like the ebb and flow of life, the world of journalism offers something new and different every day. With each new assignment comes a new sector of life to capture. If you have an open mind and a strong desire to learn new things, journalism will come naturally.
19. Be a know-it-all.
Having a steady flux of new information means you get to share it with people. As a journalist, you need to be one step ahead of the rest of the world. Basically, you know what’s up. Being in the know really comes in handy, especially at awkward family parties, running into the last person on earth you want to see or when you want to impress that cute guy at the bar.
20. Make people smile.
True, oftentimes you might be reporting on things that are surrounded by contention. You might make people angry or start a heated debate. But getting thank you emails about people or issues you profiled makes it all worth it. I always say I’ll be happy if my writing inspires just one person. Do what you love, love what you do. It’s that simple.
(Main Image via Flickr)