“Journalism is really a trade you learn on the job”

Rowan Walrath, a staff writer for BostInno, which covers the entrepreneurial business scene in Greater Boston, came back to her alma mater to share tips with students about fact checking and improving your chances at finding a job.

Walrath, who graduated from the Northeastern University School of Journalism in 2017, spoke at “Pizza, Press & Politics” on Sept. 26, a weekly speaker series.

Walrath told the crowd of graduate and undergraduate students that it is important to get the details right — including simple things like the spelling of a name or complicated details about a business deal. Keep your focus as narrow as possible, she suggested. Make sure everything is correct and everything is sourced.

Walrath said she has a strong background in fact checking, which is what she initially did for Mother Jones in addition to writing articles. One tip she learned there: ask people for their dates of birth because by the time the article comes out, the person might have had another birthday.

She suggested students get clips by working for the student news site, The Huntington News. Walrath started reporting there and loved the work and the dedication it required. Write as much as possible, she said, because “journalism is really a trade that you learn on the job.” Freelancing also provides people with valuable experience, she added.

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