- Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How to Improve in Journalism

Journalists are people who write – whether gifted or not is another story. They are generally people who eagerly voice out their opinions and question right and wrong. Though many love to write, not many have the capacity, or know how to excel in journalism. If you are one of them, perhaps this might give you some enlightenment.

Read a lot. This is the first and hard rule every writing enthusiast has to do. There is no shortcut or bypassing this requirement because only through reading a journalist can improve in word choices and opinion expressions. In addition, a journalist can keep himself/herself informed to voice out his/her opinion, which is something many readers would like to know. Look at the papers, for instance, and browse through the editorial column. You will find many journalists voicing their opinions out – perhaps about what the government should do to alter or improve the nation’s conditions.

Write a lot. Have you once heard: practice makes perfect? Though an old saying, one cannot deny the fact. If you are really enthusiastic about this writing career, it would be advisable to write at least one essay about what you think about a certain issue in the papers each day. Have your spelling and grammar checked after completing each work. One thing to remember, the authenticity of details is very important. One can be penalized if the details are erroneous.

Being emotional is okay at times; after all we’re humans who have emotions. Why be afraid of emotions? There is no such rule that says journalists cannot be emotional. In fact, many heartfelt articles do a great job and win many readerships too. However, beware that your emotions does not mislead you; they can tricky at times.

Never accept everything as true. In this line, there will be journalists who write with propagandas, intending to change mindsets (which is what you are doing too). Question what you read. Are they true or false? If false, why? How can it be rectified? How should it be done?

Personality. This is not only sought after in the music industry, but also in the writing line. Authors are usually conversational even though they’re writing something serious. Readers like to read something that is applicable and seem interactive. The better you are able to depict your personality, the more others will take note of your work. Be truthful to what you write. You will be judged by what you write.

Although it is okay to voice out your thoughts, remember that you have to strike a balance between being informative and entertaining. Admit it or not, many readers these days read to be entertained; or else why would Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling or The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind or The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien be selling so much unless readers want entertainment! Look at any fictitious writing. They are both informative and entertaining, which is why the Trade Books industry is doing well.

Accept criticisms. Do not feel discouraged when somebody says, "Oh, I don’t like your writing" or "I don’t think you’re doing a great job" or "Your opinions are not good". Take such words positively. Interview any successful person and find out that he/she had had his/her share of tough life. And when you learn how to take criticisms positively, that’s the starting point of improvement and success.

The path of journalism is difficult, challenging and rewarding. Take a step at a time, take things slow. Breathe. And you’ll find yourself doing well. It is okay to relax once in a while, sit back and close your eyes and whisper to yourself, "Dang, I’m doing fine." Follow these, and you’re on the right track. Good luck to the future journalist – you.

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