Book offers inside track on being 'great journalist'

“There
are jobs that are guaranteed to make you admired… There are jobs that
are lucrative… There are jobs that are treated with respect… And
then there’s journalism.”

This is the forthright introduction to
Telegraph editorial director Kim Fletcher’s book The Journalist’s
Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Being a Great Journalist.

Fletcher
is a former editor of the Independent on Sunday who started his career
on the Sheffield Star, making his way on to Fleet Street by the
traditional route of working casual shifts on the nationals.

His
book is full of the sort of practical advice rarely taught on
journalism courses: like how to get on with your colleagues, how to
jump from regional to national press and the intriguingly titled
chapter “What to do When You’re 40”.

Fletcher said: “I hope it
communicates the excitement of journalism but also that to succeed in
journalism youneed to work hard and with real drive.”

When asked
for the secret of succeeding as a journalist he said: “It’s drive,
drive, drive. You can’t work it as a nine to five job, you can’t work
it if you’re not excited by what you’re doing. You have to maintain
that level of drive, enthusiasm and excitement and you have to believe
whatever you’re putting in the newspaper that day is the best that you
can do.”

The book contains other useful bread and butter advice
such as check the spelling of every name, don’t act like a prima donna
if the subs mess with your copy and always remember the people who give
you your breaks.

But most of all it conveys his evident
enthusiasm for the business and the fact that journalists get paid to
do exciting things and then write about them. As Fletcher puts it in
the book: “You would do it even if they didn’t pay you.”

The Journalist’s Handbook is published by MacMillan and priced £14.99.

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