Getting into broadcast journalism may not be a piece of cake, but it's possible to distinguish yourself from the pack. Make sure you highlight in your interview any or all of the following skills: excellent written/oral communication skills, knowledge of current affairs, technical ability, a sharp eye for new stories, an analytical mind, problem-solving skills and an ability to work under pressure. Anticipate what specific questions the interviewer is likely to ask and you'll be well on your way to kick-starting a fabulous career in broadcast journalism.
How Do You Keep Informed of the News?
If you're going to work in broadcast journalism, you'll need intimate knowledge of current affairs and a strong interest in news. But employers aren't just looking for someone who cracks open The New York Times every day or tunes into the nightly news. Knowledge of the digital news landscape is a must. Hone those Twitter lists, beef up Feedly with your fave blogs, start subscribing to top news outlets on Google+, get comfortable with Storify and start exploring how Pinterest and Instagram are the next wave in journalistic storytelling. If you can get across to the interviewer that you understand the digital landscape, nay that you thrive on it, you're definitely going to come out ahead.
What Personal Qualities Do You Have That Would Make a Great Journalist?
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Journalism requires a delicate balance of personal and technical skills and employers will want to be sure that you have the right stuff. Since it's such a competitive field you must convey your drive, energy and dedication to the job. You'll need it! Journalism is also a deadline-driven business, so highlight your ability to work in pressure-cooker environments, your interest in teamwork and your people skills. A talent for handling difficult situations with diplomacy and sensitivity is like gold to potential employers. Finally, resourcefulness and creativity in problem solving are important for sourcing stories, managing difficult projects, working in teams and meeting deadlines. Show your potential boss you have all of these qualities and more by discussing specific instances where you met challenges and defeated them, either culled from your schooling, another job or an internship.
Which Story Over the Last 12 Months Would You Have Liked to Cover and Why?
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Again, wide-ranging knowledge of news are going to be essential here. But you don't need to restrict yourself to current affairs. Having a broad knowledge of science, health, environment, lifestyle, arts and business news will let your potential employer know that you have the ability to cover a wide variety of topics. But don't just grab for the hottest event from the past year. Try to think of something which hasn't been covered as much as you would have liked, which affects the publication's audience at the grassroots level. This will show you're an original thinker. Also, suggest how you would have spun the topic. This will tip off your potential boss that you're ripe and ready to get to work with the confidence to pitch your own ideas.
What Kind of Technical Expertise Do You Have?
Journalism is changing rapidly and the technical skills required in the changeover to digital are vast and ever-changing. Often there won't be anyone to train you, so stress in your interview your general awesome technical expertise and your current level of comfort with digital editing programs, social media and the like. Show your future boss that you're a multi-tasker with traditional journalism skills and technical expertise. As jobs become less specialized in journalism, all-round stars like yourself will shine. Putting together a portfolio with a demo tape is a great way to demonstrate this as well as citing specific examples from your past work or school experience where you learned on the job and aced new programs.
Alana Vye is a Canadian writer living abroad. She had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Toronto and has worked in online marketing and publicity. She's also an avid traveler who has visited Asia, Europe and Central America.