Five simple ways to be a better journalist

By: Ryan Broussard

There is the old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when is comes to journalism, there are always new tricks to learn.

Whether it comes in the form of different, more creative ways to say something or new tricks in editing audio or video; learning new things never hurts.

Here are five different things you can do to pick up new tricks:

1. Reading/Watching what others are doing: This one should be obvious, but alas, it is not. For print journalists, it is an simple as reading the newspaper and seeing how other journalists you admire write and structure their stories. For broadcast journalists, the same philosophy applies. Watching and listening how others work their stories is very beneficial.

2. Keep up with social media and online tools. I know some people may be tired of hearing about social media, but it does have its uses. My other GenJ colleagues have written past blog posts about social media tools to use, so I won’t go in-depth. Just scroll through past posts and you may get some ideas.

3. Participate in webinars. The Poynter Institute puts on great online training tools for journalists. ‘Nuff said.

4. Talk to friends in the profession to pick their brains about ideas and tips. Those talks are often invaluable.

5. Read books. I know I talked about reading earlier, but reading books written by journalists will help tremendously. Find a good author and enjoy the ride.

Ryan Broussard works as an intern at the Advocate in Baton Rouge where he covers crime and works general assignments on the weekend. He graduated from UL Lafayette with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He has been an SPJ member 2006. Connect with him on Twitter, @ryanmbroussard.

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  • Your words sound good and effective, but living in an Arab where journalism is limited for the elite being a journalist is hard, specking of my self I worked with 2 channels, a Radio but no one accepted to hire me after the training period is over! why?? BECAUSE of bad economy and I didn’t study journalism though I’m very qualified !!

  • Good tips at a length a journalist can read. I’m just getting started in journalism. Everyone says, “Go to the internet!” But as a student, I feel like there are a lot of fundamentals that are getting glossed over. Any recommendations for good books?

  • Deb

    A book I’ve enjoyed recently is “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” Edited by Walt Harrington and Mike Sager. Published 2012 by the Sager Group.


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