Advice from Tamara Baluja

Don’t feel that getting into J-school is your only option if you want to become a journalist. You’ll learn some basic skills, yes, but J-school is simply a way to get your foot in the door. It’s far more important to get great internships and experiences, even if it means sacrificing your grades a little.

Ultimately, it’s your portfolio that gets you an interview and not your school grades. (Er, sorry, not sure if that’s what you want to hear, but it’s true). Also, live a little! Employers love journalists who’ve lived/worked in different places, can speak a second or third language fluently, or even have a different undergrad degree from the prescribed journalism degree.

(Editor’s note: Tamara was actually heading to Law School when she decided to jump ship and become a journalist.)

About Tamara

Tamara Baluja

  • Name: Tamara Baluja
  • J-school: Centennial College, Toronto (in my last semester – thank-god!)
  • Current/Past employers: Associated Press, London, UK bureau (current).
  • Previous: The Province (Vancouver), Toronto Star radio room, CFRB. Upcoming summer internship: Globe and Mail in Toronto.
  • Publications: This is going to be a huge list mainly because of AP subscribers – Washington Post, USA Today, ABC Online, LA Times, Bloomberg, MSNBC, Philadelphia Inquirer, Today Online, eTaiwan News, etc. In Canada, my work has appeared in The Province and affliate Postmedia papers when they picked up my Province stories, Toronto Star, East York Observer, Rogers TV Mississauga, and CFRB.
  • Platforms: Radio, print, online. TV as well, but extremely reluctantly. Make-up ewww!
  • Twitter: @tamara_baluja
  • Sample work: Banned but Easy to Buy (a cover story investigation for the Province)
  • In three parts: baluja1 baluja2 baluja3