Summer Writing Mini-Workshop: On Journalism


My advice to college students: If you’re a journalism major, write for the school newspaper. (It doesn’t make sense not to–this helps build up your portfolio.) If you’re majoring in graphic design, help lay out the paper. If you’re majoring in marketing, sell ads for it.

Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Lane DeGregory has made a career out of writing human interest stories & feature articles. Fiction writers can learn from even non-fiction writers on where to find ideas.

If you want to write something that will live for a day, write a news story. If you want to write something that will live for a lifetime or more, write a piece of literature. That said, the Internet has given all writing, regardless of class, immortality.

You don’t have to be a journalist to have fun with headlines ( The Headlines Game is a great parlor game to spark ideas for fiction stories. Just pick 5 letters, & make a headline out of them in the order in which you picked them. For example: M H W B B might be Mystery Heiress Wears Burning Blouse.

If you’re majoring in journalism, photography & videography must be part of your resume. The more you know how to do, the more valuable you are to potential employers.

If you need to practice writing in AP (Associated Press) style, & you’re a more creative writer, try writing mock newspaper stories for your blog based on the towns & characters you created. It also helps to outline your story with the 5 W’s & 1 H so you won’t forget any of the essential ingredients of a well-researched news story.

Literature is the prevention, journalism, the cure.

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