Monday, April 6, 2009

10 Tips for Being a Successful Journalist

In a recent speech at the Columbia Journalism School, BusinessWeek editor-in-chief Stephen Adler offered ten things that magazine journalism programs don’t tell their students. It's good stuff:

1. Your career will probably depend on luck.

2. Few journalists write really well, so you have an advantage if you can, especially as editing resources shrink.

3. Despite the current hard times, students have an advantage over professionals because they have tech skills, and aren’t entrenched in the hierarchy.
4. Attitude counts more than ever.

5. You’ve got to get known, because editors tend to hire people they already know.

6. Be essential, not discretionary.

7. Advertisers have much more power than ever, and that’s an enormous problem.

8. An editor-in-chief spends less than half his time doing anything even remotely journalistic.

9. Analog dollars make digital pennies, but online may save the industry.

10. The skills of a journalist have value, even if it’s not in journalism.

Shannon Davis