6 tips for journalists starting out in the industry

This is a notoriously difficult industry to get started in, so we spoke to some experts to get their top tips!



Sometimes it can be impossible to know which stories to follow, when to stand your ground and when to call it a day. With the call for applications to the One World Media Fellowship well underway, we decided to ask successful journalists and filmmakers to share their tips for getting started in this industry.


Tip 1: Give yourself time to grow

“At the start of their career, there is a fine line between a journalist or filmmaker’s ability and their taste. Many young journalists and filmmakers will get into this profession because they have high levels of taste and want to recreate the quality of their taste in their work, but this takes time and patience. You have to keep producing the work and it may take a number of years to reach your taste level.” – Tristan C. Anderson, Doc Filmmaker


Tip 2: Be unique

Don’t be afraid to specialise. And don’t expect your career to look very much like those of journalists who are twenty, or even ten years older than you.” – Megha Rajagopalan, World Correspondent, Buzzfeed News


Tip 3: Be resilient

“Setbacks are part of the trade, so just keep trying. It’s important not to be too hard on yourself because even the most successful journalists have had knock backs in the past, it’s just about how you deal with that. So if you’re someone who might lose all the confidence, I think it’s about making sure that you’re able to come back fighting.” – Kanika Saigal, Freelance Journalist


Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to fail

“Failure is very important and at times can be a positive thing, as learning comes from everything we do. Doing the work is the most important thing , think of it like a muscle, as you have to train it and maintain it. It is also very rare to be given ‘that’ break in your career,  so you tend to have to make your own future.” – Tristan C. Anderson, Doc Filmmaker


Tip 5: Know when – and when not – to take risks

“Try to do work that will stand the test of time and create lasting impact. Take time to care for your own safety and the safety of your sources — it sounds obvious but many young journalists take risks that are simply not worth it.” – Megha Rajagopalan, World Correspondent, Buzzfeed News


Tip 6: Don’t be afraid to follow a lead 

“Young filmmakers and journalists need to follow their noses, not be afraid to look into the dark corners and ask tough questions, of both subjects and the audiences they hope to reach.” – Lisa Marie Russo, Development Exec, BFI Doc Fund


 The OWM Fellowship is open for entries!

The Fellowship supports new talent from around the world to produce engaging and creative media in developing countries. Selected fellows receive a £1000 production grant, one-to-one mentoring and a year-round programme of industry workshops and webinars.


Deadline for entries: 2 April 2020