Fascinated by the daily news you read on the tube? You could be writing it.
Taking a course in journalism can not only give you a basis for better understanding the news you read, it can also set you up for an entirely new career. The opportunities in journalism are endless - whether you fancy yourself the next big newsreader on screen, you want to become an influential cinema reviewer, or you want to dig deep and write about hard-news cases for the Telegraph, you're sure to find your place somewhere in the world of journalism.
What are the main things I'll learn?
Though it depends on the course and which avenue of journalism you intend to pursue, you'll be sure to learn a lot about interview skills, how to research topics in depth, macro and micro editing, and much more.
What equipment will I need?
The most important tool you can bring to a journalism course is a sharp, inquisitive mind. Journalism is all about exploring why things happen, and finding a way to explain these events to the public in a straightforward way. Be ready to ask the hard questions. Other than that, it's generally best to bring a pen and paper or a laptop. When in doubt, ask your instructor.
What will I gain?
The ability to convey factually correct, concise, and print-worthy news to the public - giving people something to talk about like Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid never could. With some courses you will also be given a NCTJ or similar qualification, so it is worth checking this beforehand.
Any good tips?
Before you start reporting, always figure out the five Ws of a story – the who, what, when, where, why. Every story has them, and people need to know have a background on a story before they read it.
Hardest thing to get the hang of?
A journalist can never be shy - you can't be afraid to interrogate people a little, but you also can't come on so strong they won't give you answers. It's a balance, an art. You can't just start an interview with, 'Mr. Snowden, what made you want to leak all that classified information?'
As a journalist, you get to meet a diverse variety of people, and occasionally, some big names. Someone's got to interview Taylor Swift for Vogue.
What can I do to prepare?
Being up to date on all the current news is the first step - this means read, read, read. A good writer is first a good reader. You should at least know a few buzzwords from the paper that morning.
Something to say to impress your tutor?
Bring up a topic in the news, and be critical - ask a question that the reporter in a story didn't. Unlike in relationships, it's best to overanalyse in journalism. Critiquing and asking smart, current, and relevant questions will surely impress any tutor.