In 2017, during our time at the Salesforce Incubator in San Francisco, I did a column for the Huffington Post, reporting on “Women in Tech”. In that series, a case-based approach to interviews and reporting highlights how opportunities emerge and challenges are faced by women in the tech industry.
Last week, I was asked to share my 5 Tips to Excel as a Journalist as part of a encompassing article on women in journalism, put together by Yitzi Weiner and Danielle Robay for BuzzFeed and Arianna Huffington’s ThriveGlobal.
Here are 3 of my tips:
1. Establish a personal connection
When you are interviewing someone, try to establish a personal connection first. Make a personal connection by seeking shared interests, or anything you may have in common, be it education, taste in music, or travel experience. The person you are interviewing might be busy that you are adding another task to their day. If you are looking to get more than standard answers that might have already been published elsewhere, you must build a relationship with your source.
2. There are at least two people in every story
I love this quote by Ansel Adams, which says: “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” The same is true for stories. There is the person writing them and the one reading them. Everybody comes to a story with their own experiences, worldview, and values. For readers, stories are — at best — an opportunity to expand their understanding of the world. For journalists, it is important to understand and manage their biases.
There are many ways you can take a picture or write a story. The American Press Institute has resources on understanding one’s own biases that might be useful for those starting out: “The job of journalists is not to stamp out bias. Rather, the journalist should learn how to manage it.”
3. In what different ways could you tell a story?
You don’t need to be a journalist to publish a story. People are doing it constantly, when they are tweeting, posting a picture, or creating an Instagram story. In what different ways can you tell a story? How would you tell a story using only emojis? A series of text messages?
With technological advances, publishing is evolving every second and new formats of storytelling are coming up constantly. Try to break out of your bubble, talk to teenagers about what they are reading and the apps they are using, try something new. The only constant is change is true for publishing as well.
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