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|07-10-2008, 03:05 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Can you help me with my ambition to become a journalist?
I hope somebody can help me. I have a long standing repressed desire to become a journalist. I am 48 now and have spent my life doing completely other things. And I am engaged in enough other projects that I can't really drop everything and go for it. But in any case, it is more a case of proving to myself that I could have been a journalist if I had chosen to.
I have set myself the goal of getting and successfully completing at least one assignment as a journalist. Although I think I have the inate ability I don't think I have the necessary skills at the moment. To overcome this I am going to spend four hours over the coming weekend writing an article.
At first I was planning to set my own criteria for it. But it is the kind of thing that is rather hard to do for yourself. It would be splendid if someone could come up with an idea for a subject.
If you can think of an article that you would like to read just post it in this thread. It could be just the title, but preferably the outline of what you would find a compelling and interesting read. I think that I can tackle most factual subjects.
Any ideas gratefully received
|07-10-2008, 07:32 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Peterborough, UK
I apologise for lowering the tone unnecessarily.
|07-10-2008, 07:53 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
My husband is a newspaper journalist and editor. It seems important to me to know what kind of journalist you would like to be, since there are so many different areas. My husband does economy, and I know that to be very different from culture ... One of my other friends is a video journalist which is again something very different.
One of the things I hear my husband say over and over again is that the best journalists do not come from university but from having been born with the passion and love for the job. Why not see if you could get an internship? There you can learn as you go. Or, perhaps see if there is a school for journalists where you are. Here in Switzerland there is such a school.
|07-11-2008, 09:48 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2007
BeautyScientist, I've been a freelance magazine writer for 11 years, have written two books on the subject, and teach an e-course on how to break in.
Typically, you don't write an article and send it to a magazine...you write what's called a query letter, which is a pitch letter or sales letter that describes your idea and talks about why it's right for the magazine's readers and why you're the best person to write it. If the editor likes the idea, she'll give you a word count, deadline, pay rate, and contract. You can find examples of query letters online, or send a blank e-mail to email@example.com to get an autoresponse with a packet of a dozen queries that worked.
The best thing you can do to generate ideas is look at your own life. What interests you? What frustrates you? What are your friends talking about? When you have an idea, experiment with broadening it, narrowing it, or turning it into its own opposite. That's how you "slant" an idea, or make it fresh and new for magazines.
My best advice is to learn to write a query letter and just get started sending it out to editors. Use Steve's "ready...fire...aim" approach, and don't worry about being perfect. No two editors are alike, so there's no such thing as the perfect query letter.
|07-14-2008, 03:22 PM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Thanks for the suggestion Angela. It was a good idea, in fact it was so good I had already done a blog post on it so I didn't really want to start rehashing stuff for it.
In the event something came up this weekend that would have stopped me doing anything anyway.
And thanks to Freelance Wanderer. I now have some of the trade jargon! That was really helpful.
I am a consumer of personal growth information rather than a producer of it so I think I will have to come up with something to write about that is in line with the areas that I think I have something to contribute. It will probably have to be something to do with history as that is one of my big interests. Maybe an account of recent UK prime ministers in the style of Tacitus. Or maybe US presidents - they are closer to Roman emporers.
Thanks again to everyone for your help.
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