Cultivate mindset where you have 3-5 ideas to write about every day. No one will hand you stories when you get out of school, so you will have to scratch and fight for your bylines, and the way you will impress editors is with good ideas. You have to have a lot of them, and you have to have them every week, so train your brain to see and develop stories while you are commuting to school or making small talk at parties. Unlike other jobs, we’re never off duty, and everything we see and hear is grist for the mill.
Here’s Lyra’s interview with Kevin Hoffman of City Pages
I’m wondering what advice you would give to a student interested in journalism?
What are some rewarding aspects of being an editor?
As a writer, I would spend six or seven weeks on one story. Now I get to see six or seven stories in that same time period. So you get to learn much quicker, and you don’t get bored working on the same topic. It’s also quite fulfilling to help a young writer outline a story and find their way through the thickets to create a great piece.
What are some challenging parts?
Because the economics of the business have been in decline for a decade, we have fewer resources each year. You can’t give raises to the staffers who deserve it; we’ve had layoffs. So it can be hard to keep writers excited and invested in the career when so much outside information is telling them that it’s a waste of time that will crash and burn long before they retire.