Journalism skills / Writing skills

3 new things I’ve learnt as a journalist

As a budding young journalist in my first, entry-level job, I by no means know it all. Every day, through my own projects and work and at my day job, I’m constantly learning new things. Not just about writing, but images, online and dare I say it… even coding.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 21.06.06

A lot of this might be teaching myself, and it has to be said that simply keeping up my blog has taught more than I thought it ever would. Banner images, drop-down menus, widgets and basic HTML. If you do have skills in these areas as an aspiring journalist, PUT IT ON YOUR CV. Any prospective employers will want to know anything extra you may have that will make you stand out. And in the digitally-changing world of journalism, being web-literate is almost vital if you want to succeed.

Picmonkey and

My two new favourite things… how sad is that? InDesign still slightly scares me. I learnt how to make my way around the programme at college, and although I did make my own DPS, let’s just say a little bit of help goes a long way. So working partly as a sub editor at work, means I am using InDesign daily, but not for my own design efforts. When it came to my own blog and projects online, the visual side of things were poor. I didn’t know how to make a header banner, or a featured image banner, I didn’t know what 600×400 pixels meant or how I make a picture that size.

Incoming my two new favourite journo finds. Banner Fotor allows you to generate the exact size of banner you’re after, as well as inputting photos and colouring in the background. The whole editor software is no where near as advanced as Picmonkey, so if you want to make it look fancy, make the banner in this programme and add your images, then upload it to Picmonkey to edit.

Picmonkey is my new best friend. It makes you look like you know a thing or two about design.


Yes, really. Funnily enough, I’ve been learning at work about how primary school-aged children are going to be learning coding in the new National Curriculum starting from September 2014! And I’m actually pretty jealous. Everything is online, and so these precious skills we have no idea about would be so much better if we learnt them at school! I’m sure, as ever, it will be extremely boring at school, but it’s practical and quite frankly, I think journalists need to know the basics.

I say I’ve learnt ‘coding’, I am talking the basics of basics. Basic through and through. The absolute BASIC. But I still did it, and I was chuffed. And I quite enjoyed it (sshh). I was faced with the situation where I wanted to add in an advert banner, with with no ‘upload image’ button and simply an ‘enter code’ space. I Googled, researched, read a bit, and found this. This allows you to upload an image banner with a hyperlink to your website/blog:

<a href=”ENTER URL OF YOUR HYPERLINK HERE” target=”_blank”><img src=”ENTER URL OF YOUR IMAGE HERE“/></a>

Don’t ask what any of that means. Just use it like a template. Getting a URL of an image is easy – simply upload to a photo programme such as photo bucket and use the direct URL link to copy into the above code.

I also learnt how to use code to jump down to the middle of an article with a link… but I won’t go into that.

SEO – h1, h2, h3

Did you know heading 1, heading 2 and heading 3 are directly linked to SEO? Me either. Using h1 on your post means that it’s more likely to be recognised by Google and other search engines. Making your introduction to the article or post in heading 6 isn’t wise, even if you like how it looks. Use the heading numbers as numbers of importance, if you’re really going into a lot of detail with lots of different sub heads, then heading 6 might be used, if not, go for the lower numbers, 1, 2, 3, to ensure search engines will pick up those key words.



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