Up To Speed Journalism Careers Advice Tip #3 Follow Your Instincts

Last Updated on July 17, 2023, 7:08 pm

Up To Speed Journalism’s Founder Tom Hill gives careers advice on becoming a journalist in a new series of posts on the Up To Speed blog.

We hope you find the advice helpful. Over the next few weeks we’ll be covering a range of topics including tips on how to write for print, online, radio, and television. In the first few posts, we’re looking at the initial steps you need to take to become a journalist including the all-important task of winning a place on the right course.

As a trained journalist there are many careers you can follow, often in areas that may already interest you.

You can be a celebrity journalist, a fashion writer, a sports reporter, a foreign correspondent, a political editor, or a motoring pundit.

What you may not appreciate is that many highly successful people in these branches of journalism have started out as general reporters. They have learned the core skills that all journalists need by covering a range of news stories and features before concentrating on their chosen niche.

Paul Myers is a friend of mine from my second newspaper, the Nottingham Evening Post. He is currently in Angola covering the African Cup of Nations for a French national radio station and has worked as a reporter and sub-editor at The Guardian. Paul joined the Evening Post from a newspaper in South London where he shared an office with two young reporters called Piers Morgan and Lorraine Candy.

Piers was to become the Sun’s top celebrity columnist and editor of the News Of The World and Daily Mirror before reinventing himself as a television interviewer and talent show panel member.

Lorraine Candy is now the Editor-In-Chief of Elle, a Mother of three children, and a weekly columnist for the Daily Mail.

Big names in the world of sports and political reporting also started as general newspaper reporters, earning their NCTJ spurs before specialising. John Inverdale and John Motson both come up from local newspapers as did Five Live’s Chief Political Correspondent John Pienaar and BBC Home Editor Mark Easton, to name but a few.

At Up To Speed we encourage all of our trainees to learn the skills of a general reporter, but also to write, blog, and twitter about subjects they love to cover.

People on recent courses have landed columns writing about cars and Formula 1 motor racing. They have had reviews from Glastonbury and interviews with Will Young published and they have carved out careers as sports writers, science correspondents, and political journalists soon after qualifying.

So, if you would like to make your mark in a favourite niche, just follow your instincts.

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