Advice from Bethany Horne

Put a lot of thought into why you want to be a reporter, and make sure you stay true to that. And if you get discouraged: put yourself in the path of people who will re-inspire you, and force yourself to listen to them. If you have a good reason for wanting to be a journalist, no shift in technology or collapse of the industry will be able to stop you. Figure out who you are writing or producing media for. Meet them. Spend time with them. Love them. You’ll never wonder what story to cover or what to look into if you have that clear.

Develop a sense of responsibility to the audience that is strong enough to overpower every politician who doesn’t return your calls, every source who dodges a question, every obstructive Freedom of Information officer, and sometimes, a bullheaded editor or publisher.

If your sense of responsibility to your audience is strong enough, you’ll push yourself in the directions you need to go in your reporting. You’ll be fastidious about your facts. You’ll get things right more often than you’ll get them wrong, and your stories will be useful and significant.

And this is more for old timers, but also some young cubs who get influenced by old timers and absorb some of that nostalgia: don’t be suspicious of change. It seems to me that the first instinct sometimes is to mock the ‘new thing,’ then write a trend piece about it as if we get what it is, then ignore it for a while, then actually start using it way too late to really harness its power to the same degree as the media-makers who aren’t tied to a newspaper or TV channel can. So just … be more open to everything at the beginning, and maybe we the trained journalists have a chance not to be left behind.

About Bethany

    Bethany Horne

  • Name: Bethany Horne
  • J-school: University of King’s College
  • Current/Past Employers: The Dalhousie Gazette, OpenFile.ca.
  • Publications: The Coast, OpenFile.ca, Dalhousie Gazette, Geez Magazine, j-source.ca, King’s Journalism Review, Maclean’s OnCampus, and radio and TV shows out of the university.
  • Platforms: print, radio, video, web/multimedia.
  • Twitter: @bethanybhorne
  • Web: www.bethanyhorne.com
  • Sample work: Family resource centre loses home
G20: One view from the street
G20: Police given extra powers
Student Union Building up for grabs
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