20 June 2015

Day 20: Journalism


Journalism is what we see and hear every day: it’s the broadcast on our TV’s, the talkback on our radios and the words inside the newspapers. It’s a large degree of everything shared on Twitter and Facebook. It is the news, the commentary of the news and the commentary of the people who write the news. It is information and facts and passion and meaning. Journalism is all encompassing and all around you: in the digital era it’s hard to go more than a few minutes without reading news or hearing about what’s going on in the world.

Journalism is also a viable career option, despite what people may tell you. It’s a tough industry, one that is constantly changing and evolving. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up. But it’s incredibly rewarding work and, like many other forms of writing, it’s an industry you can break into with perseverance and determination. This can be done through academic courses, professional internship programs, volunteering at your local paper or writing on a freelance basis (which we’ll cover in more detail on June 23, right here on the blog!).

As a journalist, you’re going to have to conduct interviews. Sometimes it’s going to be for a 1000 word feature piece, sometimes it’s a one sentence quote and you’ve only got 30 seconds to get an answer out of your source. Below are some of our tips on conducting an interview:

  1. Be well prepared going into your interview: do your research on your subject, think about the kind of questions you’re going to ask and plan what direction you’d like the interview to go in. But don’t just stick to the script! It can be extremely limiting to confine yourself to pre-prepared questions. If you feel like the interview is going in an interesting direction, let it flow naturally—you could come up with a whole new angle to your story, or get a scoop no one else has.
  2. Be on time: don’t rock up late. Please. Also make sure all your equipment is working/your iPhone is charged/you have a spare pen.
  3. Confidence is key: even over the phone, you can hear confidence radiating from individuals. Be calm and enthusiastic. If you’re nervous, fake it til you make it.
  4. Be yourself: interviewees are more likely to open up and be comfortable around you if you’re being genuine.

Get your interview game perfected by checking out these tips and techniques from the Columbia School of Journalism and BBC Academy of Journalism, and keep your eyes on The Walkley Foundation’s blog for inspiring and practical content.

Finally, we want to know what story that’s caught your eye today with us! Is it news? A feature? A form of digital story-telling? We wanna hear about it! Remember to use #NYWM15 to keep us in the loop.