How to Be a Better Reporter

Skills all aspiring journos should know.

young-journalist

young-journalistIf you dream of being the next Bob WoodwardCarl Bernstein, Barbara Walters or David Carr, there are a few key things you need to know. Times have certainly changed in terms of journalists’ need to up their digital game with a firm grasp of frequently used platforms like WordPress and Photoshop; however, you’ll still need to master good ol’-fashioned reporter skills.

According to CNN International and CNN.com reporter Susanna Capelouto, learning how to communicate — to anyone — is one of the most crucial skills a journalist can have. “Be friendly when you talk to receptionists, secretaries, PR flacks or any gatekeeper who is your ticket to getting that interview you need for your story,” Capelouto says. “Show respect and call them by their name.”

On the flip side, journalists should be comfortable prodding their sources for more information and viewing issues from multiple perspectives. “Be willing to challenge yourself to understand and analyze arguments on all sides of issues — especially the most polarizing ones,” explains Patricia Phalen, associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.

For more expert advice, read 7 Essential Tips for Every Aspiring Journalist.

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