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Journalism, Languages.

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Journalism, Languages.

Postby Simon86 » Mon 01.07.2008 9:41 am

I'll try to keep this short and sweet. I wasn't sure whether I should bother writing this here considering most of the learners seem to be younger than me, from what I've seen anyway. But, I wouldn't mind some advice from anyone that's willing to give it, I'm open to anything.

After almost 5 years of just having "fun" (which I'm getting pretty tired off now), I've finally sat down and thought about what I would love to be doing, or what would fit my personality best. I really like the idea of Journalism, I love writing and travelling, learning new things and meeting new people. It opens me up to alot of opportunities, I only wish I did it sooner.

So I've been reading into this, and I can't start a course untill September this year. Instead, I'm going to be working hard, preparing, saving money to do some travelling, and do a run for charity.

Is anyone else here currently in this line of work or doing something like this willing to give some advice? I would just like to prepare well to be at my best.

I've read that it's good to learn more languages, that's a given... considering you need to keep contact with all kinds of people. Ofcourse, I'm already learning Japanese. Which languages would you consider taking? How many languages at one time?

Thanks!
Last edited by Simon86 on Mon 01.07.2008 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Journalism, Languages.

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 01.07.2008 10:36 am

At the risk of stating the obvious, more important than learning a foreign language would be the brushing up of your English composition skills. And I don't say that just to be nasty.

I participate in a photography forum where one of the members is an aspiring photojournalist who goes out and covers stories on his own and writes them up. He has tried to get positions as a staff photographer for local newspapers, but to no avail. He is a very talented photographer and if I ran a paper I would hire him in a heartbeat.

The problem is, papers these days don't care about the quality of the photos so much as they do cutting costs by having one person do both the write-up of events and take the news pictures. This fellow I speak of has the most atrociously deficient language arts skills you could imagine. No matter that he's fantastic with a camera, they don't want him. Personally, I'd send him out with a camera, tell him to write it up as best he could and I'd do a rewrite for him back at the office.

What's my point? It is that no matter how interesting or compelling the actual content of what you may have to share as a journalist, the people who write the checks don't want to spend their days doing a rewrite when by all rights they should be able to expect professionally competent composition from a person who puts food on the table with his words.

There's no point worrying about which other languages to take up in order to enhance your future career as a journalist without first getting your English composition up to marketable levels.

And if you're inclined to pull the standard, "I can write well when I want to, I'm just more relaxed on the internet." dodge then I can only remind you that the only way any of us have to know anything about you is by the way you present yourself. And if you present yourself with lazy composition then you have to expect that some folks are going to perceive you as being capable of no better. It's like a woman going around in a rag-tag housecoat, hair up in curlers, and sporting a mudpack and expecting everyone to just somehow intuit that she's really quite a babe when she wants to be. We go by what we see. And what I see in that lead post is a fellow who, if he aspires to be a journalist, first needs to enroll in an English composition class, saving the acquisition of foreign languages for whiling away idle moments.
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RE: Journalism, Languages.

Postby Dehitay » Mon 01.07.2008 11:54 am

Is that in response to a previous post you remember? I wouldn't have even noticed the grammar mistakes if I hadn't read your post and then reread the OP. However, I guess Mike is still right about that. Especially with a job like journalism. You have to have a way of describing things that can outsell blogs which are incredibly common nowadays. As far as language learning, that will depend more on how often you visit certain places. If you're only visiting once for a short while, you would only need to learn a few phrases. If you're going to spend years running around South America, then you would want to learn Spanish and a bit of the Portugal derived language (phrased weird cause I can't seem to remember how to spell Portugese).
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RE: Journalism, Languages.

Postby Simon86 » Mon 01.07.2008 12:10 pm

I'm not going to deny that my English composition skills are terrible, I'm glad you pointed it out.

I forgot to mention that before I do this Journalism course, there is an access course for adults that help to get me up to standard (as long as I work hard at it). It's sort of a "back to school" course. A base to help the adult start on the right career path he or she wants. I cannot enrol on the Journalism course until I've completed the access one and have achieved certain qualifications. I guess I'll just have to practise practise practise in the meantime.

The access course is the one that starts in September and I think it lasts one year, but it's specifically for those who wish to pursue a career in the media industry, not just Journalism. It teaches Photography, Multimedia and Media Production, Music Technology and Journalism. Plus I've been told that it's probably best to stick with a certain area that I’m interested in, such as politics or travel, which is why I said about learning more languages.

To be honest when I was at school, English Literature was my best subject, I would always present good work. I enjoyed it because I could do it well, unlike maths... But my point is that it does give me some comfort knowing where my strengths used to be.

When I left school, most of my skills went to waste (not completely). I went straight to work instead of carrying on education, I guess I just wanted to earn money... and do other stuff, hence "fun".

Thanks for sharing the story of your friend. If he is really professional with a camera, wouldn't he be happier finding work with a magazine that specializes in whatever he takes pictures of? Like a travel agency needing attractive images of holiday resorts? I'm sure there's plenty of great opportunities for a good cameraman.

Thanks for the advice.


Mike Cash wrote:
It's like a woman going around in a rag-tag housecoat, hair up in curlers, and sporting a mudpack and expecting everyone to just somehow intuit that she's really quite a babe when she wants to be. We go by what we see.


Is this how you see me? Strutting around going I'M PRETTY lol...
Last edited by Simon86 on Mon 01.07.2008 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Journalism, Languages.

Postby Simon86 » Mon 01.07.2008 12:18 pm

Dehitay wrote:
Is that in response to a previous post you remember? I wouldn't have even noticed the grammar mistakes if I hadn't read your post and then reread the OP. However, I guess Mike is still right about that. Especially with a job like journalism. You have to have a way of describing things that can outsell blogs which are incredibly common nowadays. As far as language learning, that will depend more on how often you visit certain places. If you're only visiting once for a short while, you would only need to learn a few phrases. If you're going to spend years running around South America, then you would want to learn Spanish and a bit of the Portugal derived language (phrased weird cause I can't seem to remember how to spell Portugese).


Thanks, I'm going to work my hardest given the advice Mike said. I guess I don't need to worry so much about languages at this point, but that's not going to stop me from learning them.
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