So You Want To Be A Journalist? • The first steps into a role in the media industry

Being a journalist is not only sitting in front of a camera, computer or microphone. It is about knowing your audience, considering all sides of an argument and then to deliver your message clearly. Usually, a big team of editors, writers, technicians, vice versa work together to produce all sorts of content – however, many journalists don’t have this luxury and have to do everything on their own. Especially, young people, such as students, struggle to properly integrate into the complex world of the media industry. The account So You Want To Be A Journalist takes a huge weight off of the shoulders of those who seek help and support.

When it comes to journalism, many factors influence the creation of content, and most of them are based on your personal strengths and weaknesses. Some people are good at composing the right questions to ask to get their intentions across but have difficulties approaching strangers to ask them. Others might have problems with technical equipment and how to edit audio and video material accordingly.

University teaches the most important aspects of journalism, as well as provides the necessary knowledge. Nevertheless, every journalist has different abilities, and it is crucial to get experience outside of the university.

So You Want To Be A Journalist offers a variety of tips and tricks for everyone in the media industry.

“I wanted to provide people looking into media careers with information about getting into the industry. The pandemic has made it harder to find jobs, and I wanted to help people with job applications in whichever way I could. So I thought I’d provide my own advice and what I’ve found works, as well as advice from industry professionals – most of them have also applied for jobs in the last couple of years.”

Where and how can I find a mentor?

Where can I find other journalism resources?

How do I write a cover letter?

What is a green screen and how can I use it from home?

You can find all these questions, interviews with professionals from the media industry and tips about pitching, freelancing, etc. on Chandni’s Instagram account @soyouwanttobeajournalist.

The account is not only beneficial for the audience but gives a great experience to the creator as well.

“I’ve been able to speak at a couple of (virtual) events which has been so fun! It’s also a great way to continue developing my video and picture editing skills.”

Instagram account @soyouwanttobeajournalist

To find a job in the media industry can be very difficult for young journalists, as most companies look for already experienced people. Chandni focusses on this issue and presents opportunities on her account.

“My main goal is to help as many people as I can get the media jobs they want, so I’d love to grow the account however I can and continue providing helpful advice and resources!”

So You Want To Be A Journalist emerged in September 2020. Since then, Chandni published 96 useful posts on the Instagram account.

“I post once every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and twice on Wednesdays and Fridays, and each post usually takes a few minutes to write copy and upload. But if it’s a day when I’m filming/ creating content, it’ll usually be between 3 and 4 hours for filming, editing, and creating images.”

This great dedication to help other people requires time management, creativity and determination.

“I tend to have a list of ideas on the go, and when I’ve got a free day, I’ll make as much as I can. With the advice-led videos, I tend not to script them (even though I probably should), and I’ll try and film three or four at once, and edit those all straight afterwards. For the video interviews, I’ll try to edit them within a few days – usually not much needs cutting out, it’s more a case of formatting it for IGTV. I’ll then send the finished draft to the interviewee and ask if they’d like me to make any changes. If it’s a written Q&A, I just send over the questions and format their answers into Instagram posts. With other text/ picture content, I can usually do these pretty quickly, it’s just a case of researching and compiling information.”

Regularly creating and publishing content on your own can often be very challenging, although it gives the creator freedom and originality.

What is your experience with working alone?

“As I run the account by myself alongside a full-time job, I think the biggest struggle is finding the time to create content. I try to put aside one or two Saturdays a month to create loads of content in bulk which I can then post throughout the next few weeks.”

Chandni adds: “Having complete creative control is great. There’s no one policing what I post or questioning my decisions, I can pretty much post whatever I want!”

The pandemic has influenced the working life of many people. Do you have any recommendations for people in the industry to stay focussed during the pandemic?

“It might sound counterproductive, but make sure you take breaks when you need them. It can feel so easy to just sit at a desk for hours with no break, but you’ll just end up tired or burnt out. I always find that after I’ve stepped back for a little bit, gone for a quick walk or even made a cup of tea, I feel a lot more ready to work.”

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

“It sounds so cheesy, but it makes me so proud when someone messages me saying they’ve got a job because of advice I’ve given or something I posted!”

Chandni and her account @soyouwanttobeajournalist provide the answers to all the worries that young journalists have. The incredible effort she puts into her content acts as an inspiration and motivation for her audience, especially during these difficult times.

A huge thank you to Chandni for this interview! Make sure to follow her on social media to support her amazing work.

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