A freelance journalist encouraged communications students to not be afraid to take risks. Getting real world experience and learning from others are key components to succeeding in journalism.
Journalism is a competitive market to find jobs in. To encourage future journalists Gareth Harding, a freelance journalist who has spent most of his career working for the European Union, gave several tips on how to succeed in journalism. He emphasized being willing to take and accept risks. “You’ll regret the chances you didn’t take more than the failures you experience” says Harding. He described some of the risks he took in his career, some of which paid off and some didn’t. One risk that didn’t pay off was a documentary he made at the International air guitar competition. Despite this failure, Harding says he doesn’t regret making the documentary.
“Journalists are people with views and opinions and we can’t hide that” said Harding. These viewpoints are essential to finding passion in journalism. He told students to get out and say what they think; to stick their necks out a little and voice their opinions. The way you get known is by saying something original and stepping on a few toes. He advised them to not let other people’s opinions get in the way of expressing their own views.
He told future journalists who wanted to get into freelance work to get out and get experience and create contacts. To take any job they possibly could whether they liked it or not. “Journalism is a mix of boredom and excitement” said Harding. The boring jobs give experience that will help when the interesting and fun jobs come along. He also emphasized that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that will essentially help journalists succeed.