Advice to a recent journalism graduate

pjstar_mark_30012* The best stories are the ones you find, not the ones assigned to you. If you can keep yourself busy doing your own story ideas, editors won’t have to assign you stories. …

* … and if you get assigned a story, don’t leave the editor’s desk until you know exactly what she wants. And if the story changes during your reporting, tell the editor.

* If you think you are working hard, you probably aren’t. You’ll know true hard work only when you cover your first major news event, such as a tornado, hurricane, school shooting, 9/11.

* That tragic day will come, so prepare for it.

* Use all the tools in your tool kit: video, audio, text, blogging, social media and whatever new technology that comes along. But remember, those tools are useful only if you have a story worth telling.

* If you aren’t getting the attention you think you deserve, ask a colleague or an editor to critique your work. Don’t be offended if the criticism is pointed. That’s how you learn.

* Find a mentor. Editor’s Desk – Journal Star – Peoria, IL