Five things I wish I knew before starting j-school

Fourth-year Ryerson University journalism student Angelina Irinici has a great post up at J-Source about five things she wishes someone had told her before starting j-school. It’s a great post with excellent advice for any new journalism student.

Here’s an excerpt:

Journalists should always have a good idea of what’s going on. A lot of the time as soon as I mention that I’m studying journalism I’m asked for my opinion: What do I think of Jean Charest’s campaign for the Quebec election? Did I hear about the latest on Hurricane Isaac?

Although it’s impossible to know everything about everything it’s good to have a general understanding of the country and world’s big news stories and the people involved. Not only is it somewhat embarrassing when someone asks and you haven’t a clue who Canada’s flag bearer at the Olympics was, but it also makes writing stories a lot harder. The more general knowledge you have the easier research will be; instead of reading up on the whole Jerry Sandunsky scandal, you can simply verify information in your story. It also helps you link ideas and previous news in your stories. Writing about the cuts to Postmedia? It would help you to know that the company sold its Toronto office for $24 million to help repay debts. Those seemingly small details add context and extra information to your story.

Accessing news is easier than it’s ever been. Even if it’s reading headlines on Twitter on your way to school or picking up a free daily in the subway, you’re still more in the know than you were before. The same professor whose question I incorrectly answered also told me that journalists are the best at cocktail parties because we know a little bit about everything — enough to chat for a minute or two, then run off to the washroom when the conversation gets deeper.

You can read all of Irinici’s timely advice here.