“Make sure you work hard and pay attention to detail. Detail is so important — spell people’s names right, and make sure you know the basic things about them as it really makes a difference.
“Network. Make sure you make good connections with people, make people like you, make people want to be around you. You’ll see how valuable that is when you get into this industry.”
Nitya Rajan, a correspondent at Good Morning Britain, echos this: “My first top tip for getting into journalism and staying in journalism is hard work – nothing beats hard work.
“[Also], preparation. And, if you are wanting to move on in your career, make sure you badger people as much as you can. Find out the right editors to talk to and badger them as much as you can because everyone has to start somewhere.”
John Witherow, former editor of The Times and now Times Newspapers Chairman, agrees. He told News Associates trainees: “Be absolutely determined. If you get rejected from a job, go back to them and ask them why, and say you would still like to be considered [in future]. And, if you get that job, show ambition. Try and get promoted internally.
“Learn from your colleagues. If anyone asks you to do it, just do it — editors love that. Be there, be ambitious, be determined, and be fun. Journalism is fun and you should enjoy it.”
‘Read As Much As You Can’
David Wooding, editor of The Sunday Express, also advises those looking to break into the industry to read widely. “Make sure you read newspapers thoroughly every day, particularly the leader columns, as that will help you develop your writing skills for starters, but also improve your knowledge bank.”
It’s advice another David shares — this time David Woode, crime correspondent at The Times. He tells us: “Read as much as you can. Read your favourite journalists, read journalists that you don’t agree with. Look at the way they write, how they form sentences, how they put their stories together.
“Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Sometimes it’s making that call and asking to be put in touch with somebody, they might tell you something that might lead you to someone else who can become a really key source or contact in the future.
“Don’t be afraid to knock on people’s doors. Sometimes they won’t answer you, they might slam the door in your face, but it’s that one person who opens the door and invites you in [where] you might just get the story that launches your career.”