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What are the best courses I should take through grade 11 and 12 to become a journalist?

I am currently in grade 10, and I would really like to become a journalist. Writing has always been my passion, and I would love to spend the rest of my life doing it. writing journalism highschoolplan college career-advice

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Sabrina’s Answer

I'm so glad you found your passion, Taya! I'm even more pleased to hear that you are considering journalism.

It really depends what your school offers, but anything that deals with writing should be at the top of your list. Being a good storyteller means being a good writer and you'll need as much practice as possible. Even if it's not journalistic writing, expanding your vocabulary and cleaning up your style are the main building blocks to good journalism. In order to keep an audience's attention, you'll need to make people feel compelled to, at the very least, gloss over your work with intrigue.

If your school doesn't offer anything journalism-specific, consider joining the school's newspaper if that's possible. Often times, you can strengthen your skills to the fullest through extracurricular activities. You'll have the balance of a classroom setting (a teacher who is helping you improve your writing in any literature courses) and independent fieldwork (reporting and writing stories for a club). If a group organized around that type of thing doesn't exist, make it happen yourself! Don't be afraid of initiative.

If your school offers classes particularly relevant to journalism, I would definitely suggest anything that has to with media. Multimedia journalism is extremely important to master as a modern journalist, so anything in the creative visual field will be a great contribution to your academic palette.
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Sara’s Answer

Hi Taya,

This is a great question, already taking initiative in high school to develop your passions is very important!

My first piece of advice would be to start looking within your high school. Take every class you can that is related to English and writing. Challenge yourself to take the harder classes too, if your curriculum has honors or IB level classes. Colleges like to see students push themselves outside of their comfort zone and when you try something new is when you truly grow. Look into the journalism or English based activities your high school has, and if they don't have any start one! A school newspaper is a great way to develop your interests in journalism at a young age. If your school doesn't have one, start your own blog where you report on local news.

Outside of school there are also great resources you can look into which help demonstrate your interests in writing and journalism. See if your local newspaper has any internship opportunities or contact someone from your local newspaper you admire and see if you can shadow them for a day. Work on develop your own writing portfolio always! Anything editorial to show your consistent interest is great practice and amazing to show at future interviews. Start a blog with blogger with a gmail account and report on stories you find interesting.
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Sara’s Answer

Hi Taya,

This is a great question, already taking initiative in high school to develop your passions is very important!

My first piece of advice would be to start looking within your high school. Take every class you can that is related to English and writing. Challenge yourself to take the harder classes too, if your curriculum has honors or IB level classes. Colleges like to see students push themselves outside of their comfort zone and when you try something new is when you truly grow. Look into the journalism or English based activities your high school has, and if they don't have any start one! A school newspaper is a great way to develop your interests in journalism at a young age. If your school doesn't have one, start your own blog where you report on local news.

Outside of school there are also great resources you can look into which help demonstrate your interests in writing and journalism. See if your local newspaper has any internship opportunities or contact someone from your local newspaper you admire and see if you can shadow them for a day. Work on develop your own writing portfolio always! Anything editorial to show your consistent interest is great practice and amazing to show at future interviews. Start a blog with blogger with a gmail account and report on stories you find interesting.
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Ayesha’s Answer

Hello Taya,
Great question!

Sharing from personal experience, to pursue Journalism as a career, you should take as many writing courses as you can. Learning about different types of writing will help expand your horizon in terms of the varying kinds of specializations within Journalism too.

Additionally, if possible, take writing courses that teach you about some technicalities of Journalism, such as article structures, how to create strong headlines, and ethical & responsible reporting etc. This will help tailor your skills as a writer that you may have acquired through other courses into those of a good journalist.

It will also be helpful to practice your journalism skills by participating in your school-wide newsletters or by interning at local publications – something you can also flaunt in your CV!
Thanks! This has helped a lot. Taya Y.
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Nicole’s Answer

Hi Taya,

Great question! This hits close to home for me as I also spent my high school and college years involved in journalism.

The main advice I have is take advantage of all resources (classes, groups, books, people, etc.) that are available to you. If you're able to, take any interesting English and writing courses at your school and get involved in your school's newspaper or equivalent student group if one is available. Those are fantastic resources to get hands-on experience and practice your skills.

Also, check out any English, writing, or journalism-related courses at your local community college or university. They often take high school students who are looking to receive credit or gain more experience.

Reach out to your local newspaper, magazine, radio, or broadcasting station to see if they offer internships or volunteer roles. One fantastic way to start widening your professional network is to ask for an informational interview with any professionals who work at places you're interested in. You'll have to dig to find out how to reach someone (could be email on a website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but that person can open you to new opportunities and resources you may not know exist.

Check online for student journalism groups in your area and any journalism competitions you can enter. A local university near me held journalism competitions where we wrote news articles on the spot and competed against other high school students. I found out about this event because I was part of my high school's newspaper.

Explore online for student journalism programs to join in the summer. I know of one for high school students at Princeton University in New Jersey and a ton others where students apply and learn new skills.

Lastly, just start writing and find a platform to share your work on. Practice helps you become a stronger and more talented writer.

I know that's a lot! But, I do hope this helps you in your journalism journey. From one fellow journalism lover to another, I wish you the best of luck!
Thanks Nicole :) Taya Y.
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