As a prospective reporter, it is important to remember that news is about people doing things – it’s action. It’s not about about buildings, institutions or authority; it’s about the way these things affect the public.
Andrew Pate, former sub-editor and current reporter for ITV Meridian, spoke to Journalism Now and said: “Let the people be the story”.
When an event happens, a reporter should get the story behind it and interview the people that are involved. It is imperative to get the audience engaged with the story and to do so, a reporter must engage with those affected by an event. For instance, if a new school was being opened in a town, a reporter could interview parents of prospective pupils, locals living near the school and new employees of the establishment.
The journalism industry is well-known for being a tough industry to get into. It’s common for a journalist to start at the bottom in a junior position and work their way up. Pate took a degree in drama, similar to on-air reporterAngus Scott, before entering the industry. This can be useful for on-screen reporters, however, there are other routes to take, such as degrees in journalism, media studies or digital communication. Alternatively, ITV offer a News Traineeship which is a paid, year-long role which sees trainees work in ITV’s regional studios. BBC offers similar opportunities with the Journalism Trainee Scheme (JTS). However, both are highly competitive with JTS attracting up to 3,000 applicants a year.
Most importantly; a journalist should just get their name out there. Experience is key in the journalism industry and through experience, a journalist will develop the vital contacts that will see them employed. Most local newspapers and radio stations are happy to take on people for just a day or even a week’s work experience. Once a foot is in the door, it opens a world of opportunity.