Telum Vox Pop: What do you wish you'd known at the start of your journalism career?

Telum Vox Pop: What do you wish you'd known at the start of your journalism career?

The best journalists will always have a story from a time they tried and failed, but learned from the experience. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, what do some of the industry's best and brightest wish they had known when they embarked on a career in the media? 

Four journalists from Australia and abroad share what they wish they had known at the start of their journalism careers.

John Mangos, Veteran Broadcaster:

The legendary Peter Harvey gave me the best journalism tip ever: "One thought one sentence". Peter also said, "It’s all very well to have good information, but if you can’t communicate it properly, it’s like p*ssing in a wetsuit. You get a nice warm feeling but no-one else knows about it."

Rebecca Falconer, Reporter and Editor at Axios:

Take a daily digital detox for one to two hours. Go for a bushwalk, swim, or do some other form of exercise that gets you offline. It will leave you happier and raring to go for work!

Dr Margaret Simons, Academic and Freelance Journalist:

Shut up and listen. Maintain and back up your contacts as though your career depends on it (because it does). Learn how to use commas. Meanwhile, learn to love the full stop. Always read the report / documents / paper and recognise that almost everything is more complicated than you think.

Saffron Howden, National Editorial Trainer at Australian Community Media / Founder of Crinkling News:

The best journalism comes from a place of empathy. Always make friends with people more junior than you. They’ll probably be your boss, or a great contact, one day. Never be too proud or afraid to ask for advice or help from more senior colleagues. Check all your facts at least five times.

Amanda Wawryk, Vancouver City Editor at Daily Hive: 

Join as many neighbourhood Facebook groups as possible. There are a lot of story ideas in there. Ask questions to your co-workers, managers, anyone. Admit when you don’t understand something and don’t take criticism personally.

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Saffron Howden

National Editorial Trainer

Margaret Simons


Rebecca Falconer

Reporter and Editor

John Mangos


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