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So You Want To Be A Journalist? Here's How To Get Started

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Whether you're interested in print, audio, video or all three, you can start cultivating reporting skills right at home.

It’s never too early to get into journalism.

Just ask 13-year-old Tommy June Simmons and Joanna Galluzzo, editors of Northside News. They’re on the 15th edition of their neighborhood paper and write about everything from neighborhood pets to local political issues in an online format. Simmons and Galluzzo say reporting on shared interests helps bring together their Iowa City neighborhood while the COVID-19 pandemic continues and conversations between neighbors happen less often.

Summer camp is in session on today's episode of Talk of Iowa, and host Charity Nebbe is joined by journalists from a variety of styles and mediums to help get even the youngest reporters started in journalism.

Among today's lineup of camp counselors is Sara Whittaker, a journalism teacher at Iowa City West High School. “I always think of journalism as storytelling," she says. “You have to be open to letting your sources help you and be willing to follow the story wherever it goes." In addition to teaching, Whittaker advises West High's student newspaper, the West Side Story. She encourages young journalists to get comfortable with interviewing, ideally by interviewing a close friend or family member first. Her advice for someone looking to begin their storytelling journey? “The exciting thing is just to get started,” she says.

Whether you're looking to write, record or film your next story, Whittaker has compiled some great resources to help any curious reporter become a more well-rounded and efficient journalist.

Writing and Editing

Podcasting

Design

  • Trello (organize and collaborate on design work)
  • Infogram (create rich media infographics)
  • Piktochart (create visual charts, infographics, maps and charts for web and print)

Find Whittaker's full list of tools and resources here.

Guests:

  • Tommy June Simmons, co-creator, Northside News
  • Joanna Galluzzo, co-creator, Northside News
  • Sara Whittaker, journalism teacher, Iowa City West High
  • Ty Rushing, managing editor, Northwest Iowa Review
  • Cameron McCoy, video producer, Iowa PBS
  • Kyle Munson, writer, journalist and content strategist
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa