Advice for new reporters

Here is my advice to new reporters.

  1. Pitch your own stories on the first day. Seriously. It’s good practice, and it will guarantee that you’re covering topics that interest you. And for editors, having reporters come in and beg for stories without producing any ideas of their own gets really old really fast (not that I was ever one of those reporters…). Editors will appreciate your initiative.
  2. Volunteer for stuff when you’re on GA. You have to be there anyway, and you might as well get clips for it. It’s great practice covering breaking news, and it’s way more entertaining than sitting around doing nothing.
  3. Be nice to your ACE on weekend GAs. They don’t want to be there either, and you’re more likely to get good stories if you haven’t been whiny all day.
  4. Pitch your own stories! I know I said it before, but do it. Just do it. Worst case, your editor says no.
  5. Stop using so many quotes. You’re a good writer or you wouldn’t be here. Write with authority because presumably you know what you’re talking about. It’s a way to keep your voice and give the story better flow.
  6. Take notes when you’re being edited. It will help you avoid making the same newbie mistakes over and over.
  7. Be nice to copy editors if they call you and have questions about your article. They’re making you look good by clarifying points in your story. Don’t be overly protective of your work. Sometimes another set of eyes can do amazing things.
  8. Play with different storytelling techniques. I know you love writing long form journalism, but what does the reader want? When you’re writing a story about funding for sewers, be kind. No one wants to read 700 uninterrupted words about that. Use bullets.
  9. Ask your editor if you have questions or if you’re feeling overwhelmed. They are there to help you. Believe it or not, they’ve done this before. You are not the biggest basket case they’ve seen, so don’t worry about embarrassing yourself.
  10. Breathe. You are here to learn. You will make mistakes, and you will learn from them and get better. Chill out.
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4 Responses to Advice for new reporters

  1. excellent post!!!!!!!!!

  2. Joy Mayer says:

    Wow. Definitely bookmarking and sharing. Great work.

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