A journalist’s toolbox

toolboxUpon entering journalism school, every student is a journalist-in-training. This means thinking, acting and working as a journalist. Former journalism professor Don Gibb suggests all students look in the mirror and say out loud “I AM A JOURNALIST.”

A big part of becoming immersed in this new life and career is building up your own personal store of journalist’s resources and tools. Think of it as your toolbox.

If you are a journalism student, you are already a regular news reader. But now that you are embarking on this new career, it is vital to be well-informed about the world around you. This means finding the news sources you enjoy most and your favourite way to access them on a regular basis, through a good RSS reader such as Google Reader or Newzcrawler. As well you’ll want to develop a list of blogs to check regularly, subscribe to any magazines that interest you and start watching television news with a journalist’s eye.

With your news and commentary addiction efficiently fed, ideas to fulfill course assignments will come much more easily. To get those assignments done well and on deadline it is useful to have certain tools close at hand, such as dictionaries, currency converters, web searching tools and help with specific types of stories that require special knowledge.

To make things a little easier when it comes to awards time, J-Source has compiled a listing of the journalism awards for students as well as the major Canadianinternational and specialized award opportunities.

If you’ve got a practical question about the craft of journalism that you’re unable to find a satisfactory answer to, check out our Ask a Mentor section.

And finally, stay up-to-date on the news and issues in Canadian journalism with J-News and our Town Hall blog.