Kavita Puri works in BBC TV Current Affairs, and is the Editor of Our World the award-winning foreign affairs documentary series. She is also the presenter of Radio 4 programmes, her next series Partition Voices is out this summer. Here she outlines her top ten tips to getting started in journalism.
Journalism is an incredibly fulfilling career but there are many easier ways to earn a living. You have to feel passionately about what you are doing. Be prepared for unsociable hours. If you still want to be a journalist, read on…
- Make opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask people for coffee at a place you want to work. Be persistent but polite if you don’t get an initial response, it shows tenacity. Do your homework before a meeting. Know what it is you are asking – is it work experience, advice on the industry, or pitching ideas? It’s vital to have watched the output, and have something to say about it.
- While you are waiting for an internship or job – blog, make short films, post your videos – show prospective employees what it is you can do, how you write, and what your views are.
- Get your foot in the door. Ask for a day of work experience and make sure that day lasts a week, a month, a year….and becomes something more concrete.
4. This is the most important point. Once you have your foot in the door, be fizzing with ideas. It is what you will be judged on. If someone thinks your idea is a goer, make sure you get to work on it.
- Identify people who could be your mentor. People are always happy to give advice. Make sure to keep up with them.
- Keep a note of all your contacts on stories, it can lead to future stories.
- Look around you. Stories are everywhere. And read widely, not just the papers lying around the office.
- Be pro-active and volunteer to work on stories and events, even if it means staying late or coming in on your days off.
- Be up to date with technology, if you can shoot, edit and write you will be in demand!
- Even if you don’t feel confident, act it. Remember everyone was an intern once. Soon someone will be asking to meet you for advice.
You can follow Kavita on Twitter at @kavpuri and @BBCOurWorld