Journalists are vital in keeping the public informed. A journalist must first establish their credibility before pursuing breaking news and political happenings. If you want to become a journalist in Nigeria, there’s a lot you should do and I’ll be covering them in this article.
Who is a journalist?
A journalist reports on current events in an unbiased manner. Journalism is a wide field with several roles accessible in practically every facet of modern life. Print, audio, and video journalism careers exist.
Journalists must conduct research on the subjects they cover, including reviewing files, interviewing sources, and requesting documents. Some journalists work in embedded fields, traveling the world to better cover their subject.
Steps to become a journalist in Nigeria
Here are the steps to becoming a professional journalist in Nigeria and relatively anywhere in the world:
1. Attend University
Most media companies require a bachelor’s degree. Journalism or mass communication degrees are ideal. Other degrees like public relations or English may be considered if they have relevant experience. A journalism degree includes classes in media ethics, research, interviewing, and copywriting. Learn about modern journalism’s print, web, and video modes.
2. Engage in School Media Activities
University is a great place to obtain experience before entering the industry. Even for entry-level jobs in journalism, gaining experience is critical to demonstrating your skills.
Work for the school newspaper or radio station early in your school career if you know what form of media you want to pursue. Working with student media is a great way to start establishing a portfolio of your greatest work as a reporter.
If you aren’t sure what style of reporting or speciality you want, you can join student media and try out several roles.
3. Try Blogging
Blogging is also a part of journalism. Start your own blog to help you create your experience portfolio. A personal blog gives you complete creative control over the content, format, and tone of the writing.
If you already know what field you want to enter, write about it in your blog. An aspiring sports journalist can develop a blog that analyzes football games every week, while aspiring political commentators should create a site that promotes videos from their YouTube channel.
Building a following for your blog can open up new career prospects and even allow you to directly monetise it. No matter how little your audience, you are boosting your abilities and job prospects. Aside from preparing yourself for a future job, frequently creating content allows you to generate work that you are proud to include in your portfolio.
4. Organize your portfolio
Many aspiring authors confuse a personal blog with a portfolio, but you should construct a separate portfolio to showcase your greatest work. It’s ideal to pick and choose your best work to establish a professional and polished portfolio when applying for a job that requires an online link. A portfolio also helps locate work for printed submissions.
Your portfolio should be carefully managed, featuring just your best work. Create various sections in your portfolio for the different forms of journalism you’ve done. This can help prospective employers quickly identify relevant examples of work.
When applying for journalism jobs or other writing professions that need journalism skills, employers may ask for samples of your work in addition to your CV. Include a link to your portfolio in your resume’s contact section. A well-constructed portfolio is the ideal approach to impress and demonstrate your journalistic skills.
5. Partake in Internships
Internships with media organizations are available to fresh graduates. This is the best approach to gain industry experience and network. In addition to personal blogs and academic work, professional work is more notable to media organizations when applying for entry-level roles.
Employers know that you have mastered basic journalism skills and can apply them in a professional newsroom with strict deadlines if you have internship experience. Always strive to highlight work from an internship that got praise from your superiors on your web portfolio.
6. Create a CV
A resume is less necessary in journalism than in many other areas because your writing examples demonstrate your skills better. But you must still develop a professional CV.
Include volunteer work for your school’s journalism organizations as well as internship and professional experience in your experience section. Notate any awards or media coverage you obtained for your work in your experience section or in an awards and achievements section of your resume.
7. Send Job Applications
When applying for employment, tailor your portfolio and resume to the job description. Concentrate your work experience and writing samples on the position’s field.
If you don’t have expertise writing about the topic, choose your finest work that suits the media company’s style and tone. To make a good impression on a hiring manager or editor, your work and resume should be directly related.
There are many options to work as a freelance journalist while looking for a full-time job. To start a freelance partnership, you need a narrative concept that you can present to media businesses. It also adds to your portfolio and helps you network for a full-time job.
Becoming a journalist in Nigeria may seem like a long journey. However, if you know what you’re doing, you could attain the position relatively easily. Journalism is still big in Nigeria and the advantage is that you’re not limited. You can always work outside the country too.