Choosing a Newspaper Beat

As a fresh newspaper journalist, you have your entire career in front of you. This can be an exciting prospect thinking about all of the articles you will write, sources you will speak with, and information you will gain. However, if you are stuck on a newspaper beat that is uninteresting or even painful for you, then your career is going to be a very long and boring one. Therefore, it is very important to know which beats you are most interested in and then work towards being selected for them. Here are a few tips on choosing which beats you are most interested in and how you can be selected for them.

Be Professional

As a new journalist, you likely won’t have a choice of which newspaper beat you are chosen to cover. In fact, often times, the new journalists are the ones that get stuck with the beats that the veteran writers don’t to want to cover. The last thing you should do is have a bad attitude when you are assigned to these less than desirable beats. Instead, think of it as something that all new journalists must go through and as a test to your journalism skills.

If you work diligently on the beat that no one else wants to, it will show your editor that you take your career very seriously and are will to do whatever it takes to succeed and advance your skills.

Offer to Help

Once you have established yourself at the newspaper and show that you are willing to write for the beat that no one else wants to write for, begin asking if you can write smaller articles for the beat you really want to be on. Offer to write these articles in addition to your regular workload. Hopefully this will impress your editor and show them how badly you want to write for the specific beat. Then, of course, if you are allowed to write these smaller articles, do your best work on them to increase your chances that you will be switched over to that realm of the paper.

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