How Do I Become a Military Journalist?
A military journalist can be either an enlisted soldier or private citizen employed by the military to report news and create a variety of publications for internal use as well as distribution to various media outlets. You can become a military journalist in a variety of ways; the most common path is to join a branch of the military once you have completed your high school education, and then undergo specific training while enlisted to become a military journalist. This means you will be an active soldier for a set period of time, and you will be committed to such a time frame.
Another way to become a military journalist is to earn a college degree in journalism or a related field. You can then apply for a job within the military without enrolling as a soldier. You will be required to work on military bases, sometimes in foreign countries, in order to perform the job duties required, and this may mean you are in harm's way in a war zone or other conflict area. You will need to prepare yourself to become a military journalist by knowing and understanding the risks involved, and being open to frequent travel. It will also be necessary to become familiar with any military rules and regulations regarding the publishing and distribution of materials to troops or outside media outlets.
If you enroll as a soldier in order to become a military journalist, you will be taught, usually on the job, how to perform the necessary job duties. Before you can undergo such specific training, however, you will need to complete basic training, just like all other soldiers. Once you complete your basic training, you may be assigned to a journalism job, or you may have an opportunity to request such a post. Your past credentials may help dictate whether you are considered for a position, so it helps to have exemplary grades in high school English or other languages; participating in the publication of school newspapers is helpful as well. If you have some college experience or have already earned a degree, be sure to make this known to your superiors.
You can make yourself a more valuable candidate to become a military journalist by familiarizing yourself with the common equipment used by such journalists. If you have photography or videography experience, this will certainly help your qualifications and you are likely to be considered more seriously for a position. Become proficient in the use of word processing programs as well as other software you are likely to use on the job.
@Logicfest -- Don't forget about layout skills. Someone who can write, take photos and layout a newspaper or journal is someone who has all kinds of practical skills that are necessary to keep a publication going.
@Logicfest -- That's just good advice for anyone wanting to get into journalism. I don't know if the military is cutting back on journalists, but reporters sure are having a rough time in the private sector.
If a newspaper is looking to layoff people, a journalist who has a good number of practical skills will probably be in a better position to keep his or her job than those "single talent" folks in a newsroom.
The last paragraph in this article is the one with some invaluable advice -- if you can take great pictures and/or video in addition to having skills as a reporter, you become a much more viable candidate for career as a military journalist.
Why? Because a journalist who can snap photos or grab some video works much more efficiently. Think about it. Is it better to send out two people to cover a story or just one? The answer is pretty obvious.
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