Lessons from NASH81

In January, I attended the yearly student journalism conference NASH81. It was a ton of fun, especially meeting fellow journalists from across the country.

I did learn a lot about journalism and writing throughout the conference, and I wanted to share some of the tips I picked up.

So, without further ado, here are some of the things I learnt at NASH81!

  1. Align your humour writing with real news stories. And, with humour articles, make them short and be sure to save some jokes for the end.
  2. Headlines are key when sharing articles, so make sure they’re catchy and you can read the whole headline on various social media platforms.
  3. Write down observations about the people you interview. Whether it’s what’s in the background, the mannerisms of the person, or what the person’s wearing, the detail can add depth to your articles. You can also ask to take pictures of the background for later if need be!
  4. “How so?” is a great followup question during interviews.
  5.  With lifestyle reporting, ask yourself why the topic matters right now, and if you’re promoting products or providing information about them. Don’t be afraid to try out different angles like social justice, politics, and business as well.
  6. Prepare yourself when going into difficult stories, such as doing articles on the fentanyl crisis. Trauma in journalism is real, and we tend to forget how much of an impact stories can have on journalists as well.
  7. Know the difference between storytelling and story taking. A journalist’s job is to amplify voices, not speak for them.
  8. If you’re going to report on indigenous communities or indigenous stories, Duncan McCue’s guide for reporting on indigenous stories is a good starting point.
  9. When reporting on alt-right communities or other radical communities, try to avoid using their terminology. It allows the word or terms to become mainstream and give them more of a platform to spread their messages.
  10. We should strive for objectivity in journalism; however, our own views and biases will sometimes show up unintentionally. Keep this in mind when choosing who you interview, how you frame issues, and more.

I hope that these tips are helpful, since they’ve helped improve my writing recently.

If you have any tips for writers or journalists that you’d like to share, please drop them in the comments!




I'm a recent graduate currently living in Calgary, Alberta. You can usually find me with a cup of coffee in one hand while reading a pile of books or planning my next big project. I'm curious about many things - including history, photography, and travelling. You can find me writing away at couragetocontinue13.com.

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