Five tongue-in-cheek tips on how to be a successful journalist by following the rules of fictional characters.
BY KRISTIE BANKS
You want to be a writer, a journalist.
You want to be someone with integrity and ethics, someone who asks all the right questions and tries to get the inside scoop.
You’re not inspired by those hacks at CNN or the BBC; no, you’re inspired by the true greats in the world of journalism: fictional characters like Rory Gilmore, Carrie Bradshaw and Lois Lane.
But how, pray tell, are you meant to become a journalist like these wonderful fictional people? How is everything meant to fall into your lap at the exact moment that you need it, as laid out by the art of storytelling and convenient plot points?
Allow me, another wannabe Rory Gilmore, to share my top five secrets to becoming the ideal fictional journalist … but in reality.
1. Never be seen without an obscure novel.
Forget those romance novels and murder mysteries you love so much. If you want to be a successful journalist, you need to read the real stuff. Rory Gilmore always had a book or two, or five, in her backpack.
The more obscure the better; it will make you look smarter and more well read. If you can’t get through it (because really, who has the time to break down what the hell James Joyce was talking about), put in your headphones and listen to an audiobook of something more your speed – who’s going to know? Just don’t forget to flip the pages of your fancy novel!
2. Dress the part!
They say you have to dress for success, and, my friend, they could not be more right.
I’m not talking about pantsuits and professional attire – I’m talking glam! Big puffy sleeves, and brightly coloured shoes you can’t walk in to save your life. Find the most bizarre-looking, brightly coloured outfit possible, and you’ve got the look. Make Carrie Bradshaw proud!
3. Get yourself a newsroom sidekick.
Become best pals with the photographer in the newsroom (à la Jimmy Olsen), or that nerdy guy who looks like he could lift a train above his head (if only he didn’t wear glasses!).
To be a successful journalist, you need a sidekick or two that will follow you into danger – and maybe save you along the way. But you were totally fine the entire time, right? Make sure you have the attitude to boot. Argue with your editor as if you’re the only journalist he trusts. Sure, the Daily Planet had a large group of reporters at their disposal, but Lois Lane and Clark Kent were the only ones who ever got bylines. Funny that.
4. Get a partner who calls you ‘Ace’.
How else is the world going to know that you’re a top-tier journalist if you don’t have a partner who calls you Ace? Especially one whose parent is the biggest journalism mogul in your universe. Rory Gilmore had Logan Huntzberger, and we couldn’t possibly have known Rory was an aspiring journalist (or editor of the Yale Daily News!) if Logan didn’t call her “Ace” all the time, instead of her name.
And finally, my last piece of wisdom to impart.
5. Ignore all four tips above. Fictional characters can’t launch your career!
Don’t listen to anything I’ve suggested above. Don’t believe everything that you see on TV. Don’t be seduced by stereotypes. Do your research. Hone your craft.
Real journalism is a lot of hard work and won’t be handed to you at convenient times in your life, like it is on television! Well, not unless your editor is a huge Gilmore Girls fan!
About the Author
Kristie Banks always had a lot to say about the films and television shows she loved, which led to a degree in screen production from the University of Auckland. But because she didn’t want to work in films, she decided to write about them instead. In her spare time, Kristie loves creating replicas of her favourite film costumes.