5 Things To Know Before Taking Journalism

Well hello there!


I'm going to take a wild guess and say that anyone reading this is either in high school (or the equivalence) or looking at going back to post-secondary school, both interested in journalism. I was in your shoes, maybe not literally because my shoe size fluctuates immensely depending on the shoe, but definitely figuratively. It wasn't a life long dream of mine to be a journalist, but I enjoyed writing and really loved fashion so my idea was that fashion journalism was the place for me. Boy oh boy was I wrong. These are the 5 things I learned in my 1 year of journalism that I want to share with you, the aspiring journalist.

1. Your Voice Is Prohibited
Journalism and blogging have 1 major difference. With blogging you're meant to write as if you're talking to a friend. You have an opinion, a personality, and most importantly a voice. Journalism is the complete opposite. You simply just state the facts - who, what, where, when, how and why - in an appealing manor. Opinions and voices are off limits.

2. Grammar Is A Whole Other Ballgame
Obviously we're all taught proper grammar but journalism grammar is like no other. Since your job is to be very trustworthy in what you're saying, it is vital to spell and punctuate correctly. Trust me when I say you will buy a grammar and spelling textbook and refer to it on the daily.

fashion magazines

3. Interviews Are Very Tedious And Often Boring
A huge part of journalism is interviewing people to get the facts and get quotes. This is also where your "story line" comes about. I didn't really understand exactly how journalists remembered all of their quotes, I thought maybe they just wrote them down super quickly - it turns out you record the interview. And you listen back to it over 100 times just to make sure you didn't miss anything. But, in order to get a good interview you have to be very attentive, very involved and very interested. You might write questions down but if you don't engage with your subject's answers, good luck finding the real story.

4. This Is A 24/7 Job
You constantly have ideas floating around your head, even in your sleep. Your story is never over and it continues even after your article is done. In my class we had a journalist come in to speak with us and answer our questions so that we could know what it's actually like. This poor guy was a newlywed with a newborn and told us that he would have to leave his family for a story. That day was the turning point in my journalism "career" because the next thing he said really hit me:

5. You Have To Really Love It
Money had never been a determining factor in my journalism pursuance because even before applying I had been told it doesn't pay much for the work you do. This journalist that visited my class informed us that it's not just writing a story and being done with it. You soundboard off your editors, you work with or are your own photographer, you edit, you fix things... it's a lot more work than you can really anticipate. Your job should be enjoyable, regardless of what you're doing, so if you don't love being a journalist, don't be one.


This isn't to steer you away from journalism, but it's to put a more realistic idea in your head. I fantasized journalism and thought I'd be writing super fun 3 page articles in Cosmo or travelling the world writing about cities to explore. These things are still very real jobs but if you don't have that basic knowledge of journalism and that burning desire for it, you'll never reach that level. I don't say any of this to change your opinion on journalism because it is a great and wonderful career if you really love it. Journalists work really hard at what they do, and ever since those 8 months of pure hatred I had for it, I've never respected and appreciated them more.

What do you think about journalism?

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