How to be a (Arts) journalist!

Top tips on how to be a successful journalist.

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These articles were written and submitted by young people across Kent, between August 2016 and July 2019. We are no longer adding new articles or maintaining old ones. Read more about Art31.

We’ve had journaling from Chloe Walker now how about some top tips on how to get started with journalism and, I know what you’re thinking, “journalism isn’t arts-based”. Oh really? Well what if you’re a theatre critic or somebody like Mark Kermode who discusses the latest films? You could be the next Will Gompertz or Lizo Mzimba, there are plenty of avenues to get journalism and arts as one.

Have a passion

People tend to say you need to try a few things in order to find out what you’re really passionate about but if it means that much to you then the topic will find you, you shouldn’t have to go out searching. Of course there is no harm in playing around and working out what you enjoy writing or talking about but never think it’s too late to get started because it really isn’t.

It’s equally never too early to start either, I was 15 when I started interviewing Premier League players so I can do it, so can you!

Establish a presence

Make contact with people in the industry and ask for advice because, after all, these guys have been in your shoes and made it to the top so who better to learn from? At the very least you’ll get a few words of wisdom and, if you’re lucky, you could make some very influential contacts.

Grow your following, as well, you can’t be afraid to get your work into the spotlight and, the thing is, you need to take criticism in your stride. Sure there is a difference between downright nasty comments and constructive feedback but if it’s the latter then certainly take notice of it – it doesn’t mean you have to change the way you put things across but does allow you to tweak things if desired.

The best way to establish a presence is by pushing your content via social media so, whilst you’re here, follow me on Twitter @OliverGMcManus!

Find your voice and don’t expect perfection

Oof that’s a heavy headline but it’s true, you can’t go into the game expecting perfection because every day you are learning and coming up with new phraseology to use in your content and if you’re constantly judging every article against somebody else’s or, indeed, a favourite of your own writing then you’ll constantly be playing second fiddle.

Finding your voice is all about finding the narrative tone and writing style that suits you best, it might be filled with wit and sarcasm or it could be packed with detailed research – it is whatever YOU like doing because it is your voice.

Don’t be afraid of changing your voice over the years, either, because just as you grow and experience new things in life then so should your writing.

Oliver McManus

Special Guest

Hello! I'm currently studying at Canterbury College, in my second year of a journalism course and when I'm not studying or serving pizzas at Pizza Hut you'll often find me either writing or asleep!