I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was about 12 years old. It’s the only thing that I ever imagined myself doing. Over the years, I’ve heard things like, “It’s not a stable industry, you won’t make a lot of money as a journalist, you need a backup plan in case it doesn’t work,” and the list goes on. Don’t let these words discourage you. If journalism is your passion, I’m here to tell your dreams are possible. Here are some things I’ve learned.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – In my first journalism class at Temple, my professor told me, “You are a journalist. That means you ask questions and question answers.” That’s something that I never forgot. It’s ok to not know something. It’s ok to ask questions. That’s the only way you learn.
2. Get a mentor – Mentors work wonders. Especially for journalism majors. They provide guidance, advice, and are a constant reminder that your dreams are possible. They’ve been where you are after all. They can teach you things that apply in and out of the classroom. Building a mentor-mentee relationship is one of the greatest things you can do.
3. Get involved – As a journalism major, one of the best things you can do is get involved on your campus. That’s what college is for. Writing for your campus newspaper or working for the campus radio station looks great on a resume. It also allows you to build your portfolio and develop your skills as a journalist. These things will come in very handy later on. It also helps to know a group of like-minded individuals that understand the ups and downs of being a journalism major.
4. Take advantage of internships and network – Internships are extremely valuable to journalism majors. They give you a taste of what to expect in the real world. Internships are another opportunity to build your resume and add to your skills. Internships also allow you to make connections (network) with professionals in the industry. These same professionals could be a great help in the future. So, take advantage of every opportunity. You never know where one simple conversation may lead.
5. Stick with it no matter what – Between newspaper and project deadlines, unreliable sources, computer malfunctions, equipment malfunctions etc., you can get overwhelmed. There will be many times as a journalism major that you will want to quit. I’ve been there. However, don’t quit. Why? Because someone is depending on you to tell a story. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s our job to give a voice to those who feel voiceless. You can’t do that if you give up, so don’t.
The bottom line is simple: Go after your dreams full force, no matter what the obstacles may be. Hopefully the advice I’ve given can help you. I’m rooting for you. Good luck fellow journalists.
Jasmine C. Barnes is a Senior at Temple University majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Jasmine Barnes is from Brooklyn New York and loves to tell stories and hopes to get paid for it one day as a journalist. As of today her bragging rights are that she has been published twice in Motivos magazine.