How To Make A Journalism Student’s Portfolio

Posted on 28 August 2011 by Cheryl Joy

There is a singular passion that drives most people who aspire for a career in journalism- love for the written word. This is the driving force for most budding journalists who want to make it big in this field that is tough and challenging. Journalism is one of those fields that doesn’t come with stipulated work hours. A journalist needs to be on his toes at all times, aware of his surroundings and capable of reacting appropriately in situations. A journalist’s weapon is his pen and Armour is his objectivity. It is precisely for this reason that journalists need to train themselves in the art of writing and more importantly in the art of observing. There are few things that a journalism student should keep in mind while building his portfolio:

1.Have an inquisitive mind

A journalist needs to be aware of his surrounding at all times. The need to understand things with an objective bend of mind can help to a large extent. Also this habit needs to be inculcated from early on and cannot be developed overnight. Being able to comment on issues proactively and having a fresh take on subjects is an added plus of being a journalist.

2.Read A LOT

While most of us have been educated in good schools and so have a good command over the language, internet and social networking seems to be doing a good job of killing it entirely. SMS language is common and most kids nowadays don’t know how ‘you’re’ is spelt! While it is easy to assume that nothing could have ruined our own language skills, many a times this is far from the truth. It is for this precise reason that reading becomes such an integral part of being a writer in general and a journalist in particular.

3.Try commenting on what you see

It is important that aspiring journalists train themselves to write on a consistent basis. This could start with small articles and graduate to longer more intense pieces. What is important is to build a repertoire of work that can be used as a judge to base your competence as well as  a training for later more professional writing.

4.Develop an interest towards writing on topics you might not like

While most who want to become journalists like to write, this is usually restricted to topics that they enjoy. However the true test of a journalist comes when you are capable of writing on topics you don’t really like. If you think that sports is your area of expertise, try writing on fashion and vice versa. The rationale behind this is that it is not necessary that you might always get to work on topics and pieces that you enjoy. In such a situation you should still be able to write well written articles.

5.Develop an interest towards writing on topics that you find tough

Another test to the true journalism aspirant is whether or not you are open to the idea of writing on topics that you find tough. It is very easy to work on topics that hold your attention, your prowess lies in being able to write an interesting piece on a subject that you find tough. For this, it is important that you constantly keep yourself abreast of all the happening s around the world and try and understand those that you don’t. Don’t like computers? Try subscribing to Chip magazine!

6.Get your work published

A feather in every journalist’s cap is the number of his articles being published. While this doesn’t mean that it needs to necessarily be on superior magazines and newspapers, it needs to be published. There are many websites that encourage budding writers. Try joining a few of them and write for them on a regular basis. Getting your work published as much as possible and build an archive of all your published articles. It works when you need to find work.


Something that can help a budding writer or journalist is to ensure that they have variety in their writing. While this doesn’t just mean being able to write on a variety of topics, it means being able to write with variety. Try writing poetry as well as articles, short copies as well as long ones, stories as well as news pieces. This variety will help in the long run as it gives you the experience of handling multiple ways of writing.

Finally, a writer can remain true to his work only if he continues with what he started off with in the first place- passion. Only if an individual continues to find excitement in his work and keeps the fire for good writing in his heart, will he be able to be a good journalism student and someday a class A journalist as well.

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