Top 5 Tips for Getting Started in Journalism

top5-logoThis post is part of our Top 5 series, compiled of short snippets of advice from writing and publishing professionals. Many thanks to our intern Sophie Lovell for curating this series.

  1. “Contacts are vital in the world of magazines. Make sure you’re always out there meeting people and when you make a valuable contact, work hard to maintain it.” –Andrea Thompson, Features Editor, Marie Claire UK
  2. “At my first job my editor made me write nothing but NIBs (news in brief) for the first week. NIBs could be no shorter than 23 words and no longer than 27 words. The lesson was crucial: quickly identify what is and isn’t important and work out what is the heart of the story. Now being able to see the hook of a story, feature or editorial is arguably my biggest strength. To this day if I’m struggling with something I try to summarise it in 23 to 27 words. –Gordon Kelly, on The Guardian
  3. “Today, it is no good just being able to write well. You need to understand how to record good audio, edit it, record video, edit that too, and interview/publish in all these various formats. If a potential editor can see that you are familiar with various forms of multimedia publishing then you have a big advantage over the crowd lining up for that job.” –Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, on The Guardian
  4. “Identify journalists whose work you admire. Send them an email and let them know that you like their work and would be grateful for any job-related tips they can give you. Chances are, they’ll want to help.” –Mallary Jean Tenore, on
  5. “A lot of special interest publications encourage new writers. If you’ve got a hobby, you can often write for the publications that serve that hobby to start building up a portfolio…. Once you have a piece published, you’re able to work your way up by sending copies of that with article proposals to editors on slightly bigger and/or more prestigious publications until you’re where you want to be.” –Sean McManus

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