If you find yourself always interested in current events and always interested in engaging in discussions about such, then you should start thinking of making journalism your profession. A journalist is a professional who is in the position to gather factual information about current events, report such news and current affairs to the public. A journalist may also be involved in analyzing news so that the public has a better grasp of the implications of some regulations, laws, or actions. There are different sides and fields to being a journalist, this article will be your first guide on how to become a journalist in Nigeria.
Below is a list of steps on how to become a Journalist in Nigeria:
Art class in Secondary school
The most traditional way to begin your journalism career is to join the art class in secondary school. When you get to your senior class, you get to take subjects such as Government, Literature that already sets you on the path for a career in journalism.
Get a Bachelor’s degree
Upon graduating from secondary school, you should then proceed to the university or polytechnic to study a communication-based course such as mass communication. Some higher institutions refer to this as Mass communications, while some others Communication Arts. You can also attend the Nigerian School of Journalism where you get to have specialized training for the profession. Upon graduating from a higher institution, you should be able to tell what section of the media you want to work in. In order to gain admission to a higher institution to study Mass communication, you must have at least five SSCE credit passes to include mathematics, English, Literature, Government, Economics, or any other social science-related course. Some institutions also require that you have credits in Christian or Islamic Religious studies. It is also noteworthy, that in this digital age, you do not necessarily need a degree in mass communication to start a career in journalism. There are alternative means to achieve this. One thing that cannot be taken away is the need to have a passion for the profession. You must be interested in information and obtaining knowledge about almost everything. Formal education helps you to learn global best practices in journalism to guide your passion.
Choose your career path
As mentioned earlier, Journalism is a broad career with various divisions and fields where one can specialize. For example, there is print media such as newspapers and magazines and there are electronic media such as television and radio broadcast. You can also decide to work for a media outlet or as a freelancer where you write articles for news agencies without being fully employed by them.
Prepare for the job
There is some homework to be done if you want to be successful as a journalist. Below are skills that you must learn and imbibe if you want to work as a journalist.
Read well: A good journalist reads wide to broaden his or her horizon
Critical thinking: A good journalist be able to think critically so as to interpret happenings to the masses
Research: A good journalist must be ready to do lots of research both online and offline
Build a wealth of experience. In today’s world where potential employers seek applicants with many years of experience, you can build such experience through internships and volunteer work before you get your first real job.
Get voice training
If you have chosen to be a radio or television presenter, you need to get some voice training so you can deliver well as a journalist. These training include accent and pronunciation training. Some radio and TV stations have training schools with the opportunities to be employed afterward. You can also train on your own by using internet materials to up your presentation skills, attending presenting auditions and other courses.
Have your unique writing style
As a journalist with print media, you must have a way of presenting and writing news that will help set you apart. This is a way to make a name for yourself in the field of journalism. You can hone your writing skills by understudying journalists that have gone ahead and using them as models.
Start a website or blog
Thankfully, in this digital age, you can always start a personal website or blog where you get to create original content and showcase your work. This is a good way to establish an online presence as a journalist. You can also send this as part of your portfolio and wealth of experiences when searching for jobs.
Network with reporters and editors
Networking is especially important in the field of journalism. Ensure you attend events and meet with other professionals such as editors and writers. This is a way to learn about new and international opportunities. You can also meet those who have been in the profession for a long time and get to have some as your mentors.
Intern with a newspaper, magazine, or media company
An internship is a work opportunity before you get employed as full-time staff. Internships count in the field of journalism as it grants you exposure and an opportunity to know what working as a journalist is. As an intern, you will get to research, write, investigate and also edit. Your work experience as an intern can be put on your Curriculum Vitae for more opportunities.
Get Digital marketing skills
In this day and age, you need to be up to date on digital marketing skills so you can remain relevant as a journalist. These skills include:
Knowledge of Search Engine Optimization and analytics to see what people are saying about your content. This includes keeping track of site views, number of clicks, etc.
Multimedia: You need to learn how to use images and videos to pass message effectively
Formatting content: You must learn how to make the content short, brief, and straight to the point
Now more than ever, there are new and exciting opportunities for aspiring journalists. By following these steps above, you will be sure to set yourself up for success in the profession.