real life instagram. einfach schön.
My old True/Slant colleague Michael Hastings passed away on
WednesdayTuesday, as I’m sure many readers know. He was an amazing writer and one of the shining jewels of a publication that was filled to the brim with writing talent.
On a Reddit AMA last year, Hastings gave a list of tips for young journalists. This list is well worth a reblog:
1.) You basically have to be willing to devote your life to journalism if you want to break in. Treat it like it’s medical school or law school.
2.) When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word “prose,” or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer.
3.) Be prepared to do a lot of things for free. This sucks, and it’s unfair, and it gives rich kids an edge. But it’s also the reality.
4.) When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence.
5.)Also, keep the stories simple and to the point, at least at first.
6.) You should have a blog and be following journalists you like on Twitter.
7.) If there’s a publication you want to work for or write for, cold call the editors and/or email them. This can work.
8) By the second sentence of a pitch, the entirety of the story should be explained. (In other words, if you can’t come up with a rough headline for your story idea, it’s going to be a challenge to get it published.)
9) Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it’s more important to you than anything else in your life—family, friends, social life, whatever.
10) Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.