Do Journalism & Books Actually Work?

Do Journalism & Books Actually Work?

I’m a bookworm. But I also really, really care about the real world. Can you take your love for books into a job in the real world? Yes, you can. That’s why I study journalism.

I think journalism is a great fit for my love for fictional writing & books. It just works together.

Maybe you think of journalists as crazy-eyed news people running around, shoving cameras in everyone’s faces???

Um, that’s not us? And if anyone even whispers Fake news, I will SCREAM*

There are SO MANY different jobs in the news. Not all of them are wacky, ok, some of them are. Sorry, news directors.

And not all news is political? If you watch national news you’re going to see lots of politics. Because national news is national. And what else is there to talk about?

Also, just don’t watch national news? Save yourself!!!!

But think local news. Stories about charities in your city or a celebrity visiting a local school. And every year on Dec 26th, how to dispose of your live Christmas tree.**

Alot of people go into making the news. And surprise, WRITERS really, really matter. Do you like writing? Than journalism might, just might, work out.

*I’m glaring at you, don’t do it!!!!!!!!!!

**ok, maybe I’m picking on the holiday broadcasts. 

Telling a story

My JMC prof likes a simple question. We call it the mom question.

How would you tell your mom this story over dinner?

Don’t be all complicated and weird.
Just tell the story just like you would tell your mom.

While this question is for writing news, it helps me write books, too.

If words just aren’t coming together, I’ll tell the story. And yes, words fight you. They like to argue about being written.

Books are stories. They can be told. Tell the story, write the story. It will work better together. Trust me.

Every Person has a Story

This is a journalist’s mantra. We don’t live to start wars or attack people. (ok, maybe we actually live to change the world, but don’t tell anyone)

We live to tell people’s stories.

And some days, the stories seem insignificant. But that’s cause you haven’t asked the right question.

Yep, it’s your fault if the news is boring. (not you, reader. I’m talking to journalists here)

<Now I’m going back to talking to readers/writers>

Ask the right questions. Listen. Tell their stories.

I pull this in with my writing. When characters seem boring. Or if the story feels empty, I dig deeper. Ask myself different questions.

The story is hiding. It’s my job to find it.


Nothing is ever the same in journalism. The news changes every single day. Every day. A new day. A different story.

Because of that, journalism is the kind of job where you have to be creative. You can’t rely on what you did last week, or last year, or just yesterday.

It has to be new. Fresh. Creative.

I get to use my creativity making news stories. And if you keep using your creativity, it grows. Maybe not for everyone, but it works for me?

My mom used to say the brain is a muscle. Use it & it grows. I’m guessing creativity just might work the same way.*

*also, I think this is the 5th time I’ve written just might in this post. Wow. I’m getting repetitive.

Writing style

Creative writing and news writing are way different. But kind of the same?

Answer who, what, when, where, why, how and you’ve told the story.

It’s all the style details that the news leaves out. Journalists don’t focus on feeling the story. We just tell it.

Yeah, you throw in some details.

For example, stories about 9/11 ALWAYS mention how blue the sky was before the planes hit NYC.

It sets the narrative memory about 9/11, it was normal day when absolute terror struck.

But normally, we don’t spend too much time setting narrative.

Creative writing, on the other hand, spends pages setting narrative. YAWN. Well, maybe not quite yawning. But too much prose is awful.

Sometimes narrative is great. We want to know about the green hills, rolling lakes, bagpipes playing in the distance. (especially if the story is set in Scotland)

But details can obscure the story, you know? News writing helps me find the balance. Answer the main points & don’t get drowned in the details.

Lots of Other Skills

So, I kind of emphasized that there’s a lot of jobs in the news. But journalism skills aren’t restricted to the news industry.

I can take my major and use it in so many different ways.

  • Freelance Writing/Blogging. Basically, I already do this. 
  • Public Relations
  • Photography  think Wedding Photo/Video business
  • Social Media Managing
  • Marketing
  • Advertising

I came up with this quick list in about 2 minutes. Remember, Journalism makes you creative? And you can take your creative skills into so many industries.

I didn’t start college as journalism major. I actually started in education before switching to journalism. Now, I love my major, obviously, I’m trying to convert all of you into my journalism world.

I’d love to work in the news industry as a news producer. But I’d also really like to publish a book or two. Or three. We’ll see. 🙂

And some authors worked as TV writers before publishing books. I know Suzanne Collins did, but google isn’t helping me find more. Maybe I googled the wrong thing. (I’m not reading pages about screen writers. Nope. Not happening.)

lets chat

Was this post helpful? Are you ready to sign your life away to journalism?

What are you interested in studying?

Do you watch the news? Or read the newspaper?  

Psst…I can’t stand watching national news. But I love reading the news! Thanks to the Washington Post for a free student subscription!