Everyone secretly wants to be a journalist. Between Hollywood interpretations, such as the glamourous Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, and the real-life fame won by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for breaking Watergate, the life of a journalist looks pretty enticing.
But as actual journalists, we know the days of glitz and glamour have passed. The clicking of typewriters is no longer heard in our newsrooms, and the idea of a government official calling a secret meeting in a parking lot to help us reveal a scandal seems like a fairytale. We’re working in a time of budget cuts.
This Halloween, the RRJ wants to help you make your journalist costume as accurate as possible. Here’s what you need:
– A cell phone. Preferably a smartphone so you can log notes, snap photos, and make voice recordings. Smartphones also come in handy for on-the-spot Googling and time killing when an interview subject is running late.
– A notepad. One day this tool will be overturned by technology, but for now, we stick to it. There’s something about a paper notepad that brings out our professional side.
– A pencil. NOT a pen. Pens freeze in cold weather, and if you’re waiting outside city hall for two hours in the middle of winter with a pen, there will be no notes coming from you. A pencil sharpener would also be a good idea.
– An electronic voice recorder with a USB connector. Unrecorded interviews are like puppies: they’re exciting at first, but take a lot of commitment and work before they can be useful in any way.
– A trench coat. It’s a fashion classic! It also comes in handy for rainy day reporting and a generally mysterious appearance.
– Boots or water-savvy shoes. See above note on rainy day reporting.
– A cool hat with a press pass tucked into the ribbon. This will help you feel like an edgy detective, even if it’s a bit outdated.
– A lot of questions. Ask so many that your friends resent you by the end of the night. Be annoying, thorough, and unrelenting. That way, you’ll really feel like a journalist.