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This is a question we see come through the ol’ Ask box from time to time, and it’s never truly a very easy one to answer. Looking around the newsroom, our colleagues come from a wide array of backgrounds, and there’s not really a point A-to-point B path to become a journalist (other than, we suppose, going to J school, but even then who knows).
David Carr’s doing a Reddit AMA right now and he just answered this question rather succinctly, so here you go:
The tools of journalism are in your hands and no one is going to give a damn about what is on your resume, they want to see what you have made with your own little fingies. Can you use Final Cut Pro? Have you created an Instagram that is about something besides a picture of your cat every time she rolls over? Is HTML 5 a foreign language to you? Is your social media presence dominated by a picture of your beer bong, or is it an RSS of interesting stuff that you add insight to? People who are doing hires will have great visibility into what you can actually do, what you care about and how you can express on any number of platforms.