I have been studying Journalism for 3 months and am starting to wonder if this course will help me become a travel writer?
Journalism is a strange subject to study. It’s like reading a textbook on how to become a chef. Is it really something that can be taught in a classroom?
Journalism is about getting out there, doing things, learning from your mistakes, and learning by just doing it. In that sense, it’s similar to traveling. No matter how many tips, advice articles, or travel guides you read, the best travel knowledge is the knowledge you gain through travel.
Times are tough, and in a competitive industry like travel journalism, it never hurts to have a qualification…but does it help?
This qualification is almost mandatory for anyone who wants to become a newspaper reporter who reports on crime and local events, but what about me? I want to become a travel writer, will studying journalism help me?
I’m only a few months into the course, so I don’t know the answers yet, but I can tell you how it’s helped me so far, and I’ve learned some skills that I can apply to my blog.
This is something every writer and blogger should work on. It’s basically the skill of getting as much information as possible in as few words as possible. It teaches you to not waste a word and work hard on every phrase. This applies to his online journalism, where readers want to know information quickly, without long, rambling speeches.
As a travel blogger, I don’t feel the need to “research” at all. I write about the fun things around me, but rarely delve into what else is out there. Digging up dirt is the sole purpose of most journalists, and we are encouraged to do so too. We were told to chat with everyone we could, we were taught how to make ourselves feel good enough to divulge the big secret, and we were taught to look everywhere to find it.
I am no longer satisfied with descriptive prose about “beautiful rolling mountains” and will now look for something additional.
I don’t mean I want to grab people and reveal their nasty truths. I’m just looking for something a little more interesting than the pretty photos and waxy lyrical descriptions in guidebooks.
Here are some other things I’ve noticed since taking the journalism course:
people take me more seriously
When I tell people I study journalism, they understand I’m talking about business. They know that I want to write professionally, which ultimately leads to more opportunities and makes it easier to start writing.
It all depends on who you know
This is a really depressing fact, but it’s really true. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world, if you don’t have someone to give you a little leg up, you’re going to languish on the bottom rung of the ladder for a long time. I’m not saying it’s impossible, it just takes a little time.
People who do well in my courses gain work experience in top newspapers and magazines, network further, and network further. The same applies to travel blogs. Since moving to London and interacting with other bloggers, more opportunities have come my way and I’ve learned a lot about the industry.
The art of writing for online audiences is changing rapidly, but is there really anything we can learn to become better? Google offers SEO courses, but spam email I’m sure I’m not the only one whose box is filled with ‘Increase your traffic with this simple trick…’
Is it time for us to leave the classroom and enter the real world and learn from real-life experiences? probably. However, I am hopeful that if I qualify, I will be able to move up to the first rung of the ladder.
I also work as an editorial intern at Gap Daemon, which allows me to gain more experience and skills in the industry. I’ll tell you more about what I actually do later in the week. There’s also a guest post from Gap Daemon’s Will Peach about how people in my situation can make the most of their travel internships.