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Matt Labash on How to Become a Successful Journalist

2:33 PM, Sep 7, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Matt Labash on How to Become a Successful Journalist

TWS senior writer Matt Labash gives advice to aspiring journalists: 

  1. Write what you know.
  2. If you don’t know anything, why let that stop you? Do what everyone else does: pretend.
  3. Give up any dreams of writing fiction. A house divided against itself falls. If you can’t give it up, then try to incorporate your fiction into your nonfiction writing. Then when you get caught, just say you were writing a composite character in order to explore the “emotional truth” of the subject. If you get drummed out of the business anyway, write a confessional memoir about how wrong you went, and how much you’ve learned since. Then try to sell the screen rights, and get signed on as the screenwriter, preferably fictionalizing your account of the nonfiction career you spent writing fiction.
  4. Always accept free drinks. Free food, too. Anything free, really. A journalist lives by the sweat of other people’s brows. If you’re paying your own way, it’s time to reassess, to get with the journalistic guru program, and to figure out how to be a less productive member of society.
  5. Wear lots of corduroy. Not only does it make you look more professorial and removed from the life of corporate drudgery that you’re trying to escape, but it’s extra absorbent in case you spill a free drink on yourself.
  6. Eat, pray, love.
  7. I was kidding about that last one. I don’t know if I hate that book, since I haven’t actually read it. But I can extrapolate that I hate that book, since I hate everyone who likes it. See how that works? Because I’m a trained journalist, I can form authoritative opinions with little or no information.

More advice at the link.

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