1. A journalism professor once asked me why I didn’t get a specific piece of information and I said “They didn’t tell me about it.” She said ” No, you didn’t ask.” I’ll never ever forget this: If you don’t ask, they won’t tell you.
2. Try and say yes to all kinds of story assignments. You never know what you might learn or who you might meet.
3. Keep rewriting your questions. Make them better and more open-ended. You want your subject to talk about things they weren’t planning on talking about. The more questions you ask, the more unique information you have for your story/article.
4. When interviewing someone, some longer pauses in conversations are okay. They’ll feel like they need to fill the silence so they’ll continue to speak. Just listen.
5. Notice everything. What they’re drinking, eating, wearing, their gestures, their speech patterns. No detail is too small.
6. I hate when professors tell me there’s stories all around me but it’s true. I just have to stop being lazy and actually pay attention. Be in the know! Sign up for local newsletters, read local blogs, read flyers on cork boards at the coffee shop, read everything you come across.
7. If you don’t write for the school paper, even once or twice, you’ll have nothing to use for when you’re applying to internships and jobs. So please, get some clips in while you can.
8. Learn all about social media and how to use it to your advantage. Track your online work, see what people are responding to and engage them. Branch out. They won’t come to you, you have to go to them. That applies to everything in journalism and life, too.