Journalism has never been an industry for the faint of heart, but those in the field have had to develop particularly thick skin lately.
From fighting off accusations of fake news to struggling to keep strong stories afloat in a sea of clickbait headlines, journalists are heading to battle on several fronts.
However, in an age when introducing yourself as a reporter might lose you even more friends than in the past, I argue that a journalism degree is the most powerful education a young writer could pursue.
Even if you join the corporate world and never become a reporter, the skills you’ll learn as a journalism major will arm you for success wherever you go. Here’s how.
One of the biggest revelations you’ll learn in journalism school is that, up until this point in your life, you’ve used entirely too many words when you write.
Journalism revolves around word count—especially in today’s age of dwindling attention spans. Content creators of all mediums must make their point as quickly as possible.
It’s no different in the corporate world. Everyone from entry-level positions to the executive suite is busy. If you want people to read your emails or listen to your idea, don’t risk losing their attention with unnecessary words. Make your point—fast.
Whether it’s fielding pitches from PR pros or pitching their editors, journalists spend much of their time evaluating and selling ideas. They know how to get editor buy-in for a good story, and they know what will captivate readers.
In the corporate world, whether your audience is your manager or a skeptical peer, the ability to not only understand business needs but present and get buy-in for the ideas that will solve them will get you far.
People like to say that there’s no such thing as a dumb question, but frankly, sometimes there is.
In journalism school, you’ll learn how to ask questions that spark action, cut to the root of an issue and make people think.
The corporate world is saturated with people who do things “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” When you start asking why and digging deeper, you’ll prompt change and newfound efficiency—or you can try, at least.
We all remember that article we filed that we felt extremely confident about, that we knew our professor would love—but that was returned to us drenched in red pen.
It’s a powerful lesson in humility. We all have strengths, but we also have a lot to learn from those around us.
Be confident in your work, but be open to your boss’s feedback. Just as a good editor will check your facts or suggest a fresh angle, so will a good manager. Be open to their ideas, and constantly aim to improve.
The fastest way to grow your career is to be a quick study. The sooner you master your role, the faster you’ll climb the next wrung in the corporate ladder.
Each time they write a story, journalists must become subject matter experts on the topic—and make it easily digestible for their audiences.
Consider the recent solar eclipse. More non-scientific reporters likely covered an angle of that story than those familiar with astronomy.
Deadlines aren’t exclusive to journalism; every industry requires projects to execute on time.
But there’s something about learning how to research a topic, dig up sources and write a compelling story in a few short hours that make other industry’s deadlines look like child’s play.
Spend some time working in a newsroom, and you’ll learn how to handle deadlines with ease.
What else would you add to this list?
Kristin Long is a professional communicator, freelance writer and former journalist. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMLong.
Photo via Pixabay