Advice from Sarah Millar

1. Write for your school paper. Do it now.

The campus press is a great starting point to see if you want to get into journalism professionally, and it’s a great way to build some experience (especially if you don’t go to a j-school). Don’t be nervous that you’ll have less experience than others at the paper — because experience doesn’t matter. You’re there to learn the tricks of the trade. The hardest part is just showing up the first time. Once you’re there, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

2. Didn’t anyone ever tell ya? Print is dead.

Do you have a blog? A Twitter account? No? Then good luck getting hired.

The media world is changing, you need to show you can change with it. More and more journalists (print and broadcast) are using digital skills. Give yourself a leg up above the competition and show you have some. A blog is also a great way to showcase your writing (this complements your clippings, so make sure you still follow tip No. 1!)

(Just be careful what you post on Twitter and your blog: No swearing, nothing controversial that may cost you a job. Remember, it’s all about selling yourself.)

3. Network, network, network

Call or email a local reporter at your local newspaper to see if they’d have time to chat over coffee and answer some of your questions about the industry you may have.

You’ll find people in the industry are very happy to give back to those looking to get in.

If you go to a journalism conference (be it student or the CAJ), don’t waste your time — go to the sessions, talk to to the speakers after the seminars, collect business cards.

You can also network on Twitter. I’ve “met” a number of reporters online and chatted with them on Twitter before we ever met in real life.

About Sarah

Sarah Millar

  • Name: Sarah Millar
  • J-school: n/a (got my undergrad in film theory from York U)
  • Current/Past employers: Current: web editor at the Toronto Star
  • Publications: National Post, various Sun Media papers across the country, the Hamilton Spectator, Owen Sound Sun Times; various weekly publications.
  • Platforms you work in: Digital, print
  • Website: http://www.sarahmillar.com;
  • Twitter: @sarah_millar
  • Sample work: Returning to Ottawa
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