Tag Archives: interview

5 transferable skills that will boost your career in journalism

5 Sep

Thinking about a career in journalism? You might already have what it takes

When you apply for a position in journalism, there are a number of career-specific requirements that employers will be looking for. A diverse portfolio of articles, experience working in a newsroom and shorthand proficiency are some of the essentials that make for a killer CV.

But if you’re moving into journalism from another career path, don’t despair. Here are five transferable skills you might already have that could help boost your CV to the top of the pile:

Communication skills

This truly is the pièce de résistance. The clincher. The bottom line that any interviewer will want to know: how well can you communicate what you want to say?

The first requirement under this umbrella term is verbal and conversational skills. Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.21.25

When you find a story that you desperately want to get published, you’ll need to be able to articulate your ideas to your editor and explain them coherently. Then, when you’re working on that story, conducting interviews and making contacts, you’re going to have to be clear, concise- and preferably, slightly charming- in order to get the information you need as quickly as possible and leave a lasting impression with those you interact with.

Remember- it is always better to ring people for information or interviews- don’t hide behind emails as your main communication channel.

It also helps if you can communicate a degree of emotional intelligence. You’re bound to be working on stories that surround sensitive topics, and it helps if you convey sensitivity and understanding when interviewing people and writing your final piece.

That brings me to the second requirement, which is writing skills. Writing is at the core of journalism, whether you’re looking at a role in digital or print, and there’s no way around the old-school necessity of high-quality fluency, grammar and punctuation.


As a third of UK bosses say they won’t hire someone unless they can touch type, and 42% of people type with just one or two fingers, being able to touch-type is an invaluable skill you’ll want to flaunt on your application. 

The Telegraph offices, London

The Telegraph offices, London

Journalists are often typing, whether it’s researching stories, typing up interviews or frantically bashing the keys on deadline day, so speeding up your typing time will make you a more efficient candidate.

If you’re still prodding the keyboard with your index fingers, check out Microsoft’s latest #TypingMatters campaign that is offering free touch-typing software downloads, so that you can become more employable from the comfort of your own home.

Data Analysis

Did you notice how knowledgeable I sounded with those typing statistics? Quoting clear and accurate data in news reports is a great way to use solid evidence to support any claim.

As a journalist you’ll receive endless amounts of press releases containing various facts and figures, and it helps if you know how best to use them in order to validate what you’re trying to say.

Multi-media proficiency

In the digital age, not only is it essential to master emails, images, Word, Power-point, Excel and all the other traditional tech programs, but now you’re going to have to show an aptitude for videos, gifs, sound clips, listicles, clickbait, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and so on.  viewpointsheader

But employers don’t just want to see a list of all the programs and media outlets you can use. They want you to show that you know when it’s best to use different forms of media for each given situation, and to be able to explain how a certain type of media will best enhance your particular story.  

Research skills

Often, what makes a news story so interesting to read is the fact that it’s an exclusive. An undiscovered treasure that you got to before anyone else. In order to find a truly unique story you’ll need top-notch research skills to unearth information sources and the persistence to keep pursuing your story, even when key contacts fall silent. 

If you’re having a slow news day and want to impress your editor with a story of your own, try using www.topsy.com to search and analyse the social web, or to find out what’s trending near you.

Southport’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club: Review

15 Jul

Sat in a backstage dressing room at Southport’s Atkinson Theatre, Damion Larkin, the organiser and host for Southport’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club sits across from me.
Thirty minutes before the show was due to begin on Saturday, I caught Damion for an interview about the club, himself, and all things comedy.
”I put on the best comedians available and make sure there’s variety between the acts.
I carefully prepare each show for weeks in advance, making sure the acts are different whether it’s where they’re from, what they look like, their material and their energy levels,” he enthused.
Determined to showcase high quality comedians, Damion explained why he gives each line-up such close attention: “Many comedy clubs only have one headliner, but I like to have two with one up-and-coming act in between.
It’s all about word of mouth and the best way to achieve that is by having a top quality show- if it’s brilliant, people will talk about it.”
Laugh Out Loud is Southport’s longest running comedy club beginning over six years ago, having run at various local venues and is now in its third month at the Atkinson.
Damion told me about how his career in comedy evolved: “I probably should have phased out the old job and phased in the comedy a bit more.
After ten years as a stockbroker I had a change of heart and decided I wanted to be a comedian.
I picked up gigs and lived off the fruit of my labour for a while- now I’ve been a comedian for eight years, six of which I’ve run the club.”
Heralded by the BBC as ‘one of the country’s top new comedians’ it’s safe to say that Damion’s career move has been successful.
Beginning the show with spontaneous wit, Damion warmed up the audience for what was a night of hearty laughter and entertainment.
We were made to feel truly part of the show with active conversation, and he had us clapping our hands, stamping our feet and giggling the whole way through.
His first guest, Mick Ferry, who has previously appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow came on stage with a mixture of prepared material and improvised banter.
Mick had us hooked from the start with hilarious anecdotes from his life as a family man and his straight-talking, dry sense of humour left us struggling to breathe amongst the laughs.
Big Lou, a comedian making waves on the comedy circuit appeared next with fast-paced and sophisticated one-liners and puns.
He truly won us over with what we thought was going to be a guitar performance, to surprise us with a charming and creative act with his guitar case.
Already impressed with the variety and quality of acts as promised by Damion, I sat back in my seat to see award-winning TV and radio regular Rob Deering take to the stage.
The highlight of the evening, Rob performed an innovative, unique and hilarious set as he fused impressive guitar skills with a loop pedal and a whole lot of cracking jokes.
Rob, who appeared to have inherently funny bones ended the show on an ultimate high and left the audience enthusing as we left the theatre.
The evening had regular intervals between each act to head to the bar and chat amongst friends. As a night-owl, I found the evening was a refreshing alternative to ‘pre-drinks’ on a Saturday night.
Having watched my first ever live comedy show I can safely say I’m glad it was at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club.
The only problem is, it’s set the standards pretty high as Damion, Mick, Big Lou and Rob left succeeding guests at the Atkinson with a tough act to follow.
The Comedy Club runs every first Saturday of the month with the next show on August 3 at 8.00pm.
Advance tickets are £12.50 and £15.00 on the door.
To buy tickets, call the box office on 01704 533333


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