So you want to write the news?

Strategizing when trying to break into news journalism or magazine publications is certainly worthwhile, especially in this ever-changing, intensely difficult job market.

It’s out with the old and in with the new!

In the last decade the application process has changed completely.  No longer are we able to dress up in Sunday’s best, and take our freshly printed resume into some human resource office, no matter what position we are applying for.  So, here are some pointers when sending in your resume to news journalism or magazine print publications.

Update Your Resume

Don’t submit a spoiled leftover resume from the last job you applied for in 1998.  Bottom line, no one wants yesterdays lunch.  You need to have a fresh approach, and a resume that highlights your “spicy” professional career.  In today’ world, your resume is your calling card.  It is the first thing a potential employer sees, and so it is imperative that your resume sing your praises.

Be Prepared

Go to the company website and look over their guidelines and writing style.  In particular, if submitting your resume to a print publication, never send them your resume with the comment:  “Writing samples available upon request.”  This is nearly as bad as asking a waiter at an Italian restaurant if they serve spaghetti, and it is code for…”I am ignorant and inexperienced!”  A seasoned journalist is going to understand the importance of relaying his or her writing skills to a potential employer.  Obviously, a newspaper or magazine editor will put more weight on writing skills, syntax and abilities than past jobs and experience in the field.


You’re in front of your computer, logged onto, when suddenly, the heavens part and the skies open up!  You have found the job of jobs, and it’s not in Moose Wyoming, but in scenic Seattle.  After reading through their detailed job description, you are completely convinced that this job is for you!  The description reads something like this:

We’re looking for that perfect combination: Someone who can go beyond the inverted pyramid and can incorporate blogging, social media and sometimes shooting video into their reporting. “Yep, I am such a major Twitter bug, I have YouTube on my iPhone…and Facebook?  I practically invented it.” We don’t expect you to already have all these skills, but we want journalists who are on the cutting edge and eager to adapt to the next best technology. “I am so ahead of the game here!  I have all these skills, HELLLLO!

Think Before You Leap!

By the time you have reached the end of this job post, you feel a sweat break from anticipation, and you are fully persuaded that the editor is going to hire you the minute he or she reads your resume and cover letter.  You google Seattle, look for rentals, find the perfect location to begin your new life.  In fact, you utilize every research capability you have and read up on the demographics, pay scale comparisons, and have already begun to organize your move!

You can’t get your cover letter, resume and writing clips sent fast enough…but STOP!  Before sending out anything make sure that you go to the publications website, review the writing style of some of their staff reporters, look at their guidelines, and ONLY submit what is in keeping with the publications style and mission.  For example, if the reporting job is for investigative journalism, you don’t want to send them a clip of your article, “Some Like It Hot:  Salsa Dancing With a New Twist,” published in the Ajo Arizona Weekly.

Here’s a big HINT…If the publication wouldn’t publish your clip, you probably shouldn’t submit it as a writing sample.

In the meantime, you might want to continue viewing your options, because news journalism is one of the most competitive fields out there. Believe it or not, there are a few other people around that can tell the story equally as good, or perhaps even better than you. OUCH!


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