I am a contributor for Odyssey for a reason. Not because I enjoy trying to squeeze in writing an interesting article between writing long essays and doing a critical analysis of an article. It's because I am hoping to go into the wonderful field of journalism one day.

Journalism is one of the most important fields these days. It's how people find out what's going on with the country, and to a degree, the world. Unless you follow our current president, who likes to share breaking news via his Twitter account.

Last year, I took the only two journalism classes my school has to offer, and I learned a lot. Also, being a contributor to this website has given me a lot of experience with being a creator for a specific media.

If you are interested in going into the journalism field, like me, or if you are in the journalism field already, here are a few things that you probably know all too well.

1. Staying Up All Night Finishing An Article


If you thought all-nighters stopped when you finished school, you would be wrong. Being a journalist pretty much means writing a paper at least once a week. Now it's very different from an actual paper, you can actually be straightforward in an article, and it doesn't have to be as long. Unfortunately, that doesn't make articles easy to write. During my journalism class, I spent so much time reading my articles out loud to make sure none of it sounded awkward. You also have to have the articles submitted quickly because the news business is a fight to be first and be accurate. This leads to a lot of late nights.

2. Trying To Figure Out A Catchy Headline

One of the most difficult things about writing a story, is coming up with a headline. You want the headline to draw people in, be memorable, and share what the story is about. You also don't want it to be too long or too short. If you are writing an online article, you don't want your headline to sound like clickbait.

3. Trying To Figure Out Your Opening Graf


Just like a headline, your opening graf, short for paragraph, is responsible for giving the reader enough information and interest to keep going. There are different ways to open the story. You can just give the important details right away, and expand on it in the later grafs. You can also use your first graf to set the scene for your story, before getting to the important details. I tend to use the latter option because I think it makes for a more interesting article.

4. Trying To Figure Out What Details Are Important

I am somebody who believes in the details. However, the journalism industry does not. My professor says that articles should try to stay on topic throughout, and that you don't need to include every single detail. This is harder than it looks, especially if you are covering a live event with many different topics, like a press conference, show, or a town council meeting. Sometimes the main story is hard to find, and you can't just summarize something and call it a news article.

5. Trying Not To Sound Biased

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In this day and age, journalists have to be very careful to not sound biased. Almost every major news source is being called biased these days. But hiding your bias is extremely difficult. Even if you leave the words "I" "me" or "my" out of the article, you can still sound biased. When I was reviewing a talk given by Neil DeGrasse Tyson for my journalism class, I used a lot of adjectives, like "funny" and "entertaining", that gave off a slight bias. Unless you are a critic or an editorial writer, you have to leave descriptive and personal adjectives out. However, you can include quotes from people giving their opinion on something, reviews from social media, as well as describing people's reactions to the topic. Just be sure to credit them.

6. Trying To Make Things Sound Exciting

Luckily at a news outlet, you'll likely be given a topic to cover for the day. However, sometimes these topics are extremely mundane. It's up to you to find the exciting details in these type of stories and treat them just as important as a breaking story.