Advice For Young Journalists

Shutterstock / qvist
Shutterstock / qvist

Stop the presses! Here’s a headline for you: “Senior Journalist Gives Advice To Young Journalists!” I’ve been writing the news for forty years now, from the time I founded the Virgil Herald at age 8 through the shuttering of the Virgil Herald-Picayune at age 12 up to today, where I run the politics desk at FeedBuzz. In my career I’ve seen technologies change and newspapers come and go, but the rock hard fundamentals of making the news have remained the same. Here’s my wisdom for this year’s crop of promising young white heterosexual males who want to be journalists like me:

1. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

When I started out, news had to be words made of ink. Today we have tablets, iPads, and magazines. In this economy, the news can be just about anything from animated gifs to dream diary entries. Just last week I produced a juicy longread in the form of an abstract dance. They don’t call it “NEW” Media for nothing! So get rowdy, boys.

2. Get ready for tech.

Modern news companies are constantly trying to improve the speed and efficiency with which they deliver the news. Some outlets, like Fusion and Vox, are exploring the use of long metal catheters inserted directly into consumers’ spinal cords, providing them with a steady stream of endorphin-laden news content and advertisements for acai berry breakthroughs. Your job is stay aware of the shifting media landscape so you can do whatever it takes to keep your sponsors happy.

3. Stay tidy.

A good journalist keeps his news smock clean of ink and filth at all times.

4. Build your news brand.

News sites aren’t just hiring writers to collect facts and solve mysteries anymore. Their goal is to acquire living brand’s who can bring to the table top shelf social media followings and an intimate understanding of how hash tags work. Smart young journalists invest in their careers by spending 6-8 years logging on Twitter and getting angry at strangers every day.

5. Conserve your fluids by refraining from the repulsive act of sexual intercourse.

You can’t be a good newsman if you’re spending all day doing sex and cumming. That’s a waste of your energy and hormones. Conserve your cum inside your testes and direct its masculine potency to a useful career-building activity, like interviewing sources and following leads.

6. Solve the Newsman’s Riddle:

What has columns but does not stand, leads but does not follow, and sports but does not wear?

7. Get paid, get rich.

Chase those checks, kids, and invest your money in the tools of the trade, like fedoras that say “PRESS” on them and upgraded IBM Selectrics, which have been clocked at 10 scoops per minute.

8. If it bleeds it leads.

If you see blood, there must be a scoop somewhere. Follow the entrails and put those augury skills to good use!

9. Got a got tip from an old college pal in the DA’s office.

Seems that Mickey the Tuna is skimming from the top, and the Boss is cheesed off. The big deal’s going down at Pier 67 at 9 PM sharp. But you didn’t hear that from me.

10. Don’t worry about college.

College is a place to chill out, hang with your pals, and have a good time. Don’t bother stressing about grades or majors. News companies don’t care about your academic pedigree, they only care about one thing: transforming your labor into profit.

11. Always be hungry for news.

You just can’t be a journalist if you don’t suffer from a magnetic compulsion to pursue the news. To write the news, you must desire the news. Touch the news.

By the time you’re my age, the news business will have morphed into something inconceivably different. In that era, the news will be written by sentient apps for the benefit of other apps inhabiting the radioactive wasteland of future Earth. Should you follow my advice and be successful in your career, your job then will be to report on the surviving remnants of humanity and keep them apprised of the scientists’ progress in relocating to a fertile planet in a distant star system. Love it or lump it, that’s the news, folks. Or as we say in the newsroom, “Extry! Extry! Read all about it! In the newspaper, that is!” TC mark

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