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How to get into journalism: an interview with Claire Díaz-Ortiz

Have you ever asked yourself “What career is  right for me?” Or maybe you’ve thought “I don’t know what to do with my life.” If you have, you’re not alone. How To Be The Difference, hosted by the Intern Group’s Johanna Molina and Paul Lynskey is a career advice podcast for students and professionals in all stages and industries.

In the first episode, Johanna and Paul speak with media industry professional Claire Díaz-Ortiz about how to get a career in journalism, and how to succeed in this competitive industry. Claire was one of Twitter’s early employees and is also a best-selling author, public speaker, influencer, and investor. Fast Company named her one of the world’s most creative people in 2021, and Forbes called her “a force for good.” Needless to say, she has a lot of great experience when it comes to the world of media. Here are the top takeaways from The Intern Group’s interview with Claire, including her top advice for aspiring journalists.


How to start a career in journalism, publishing, and media

When it comes to starting a career, Claire has some great advice and perspective. The media landscape is constantly changing, and success in that industry is different today from 20 years ago. Claire’s top piece of advice, regardless of changing times, is to read and write a lot. When she first started her career she wrote a blog, which allowed her to write frequently and connect with others.

However, it’s not enough to sit alone writing and reading. Connecting with other people is essential, Claire says. She was one of the first employees and users of  Twitter, and she used the platform to connect with people from all around the world. Anyone who wants to be successful in journalism and media has to learn to connect with people online. Make sure you’re comfortable with at least one social media platform, and consider engagement part of your career.


A black iphone shows social media apps


Claire’s habits for success

Claire says having a strict morning routine helps her to be successful in her professional and personal life. She likes to spend time each morning journaling, reading, and centering or meditating each morning. These regular activities are a great way to prepare for the day. Of course, Claire explains that her routine has changed slightly over the years. When she was younger, she did these things first thing in the morning. Now that she has young children at home, she usually does them once she’s in the office, before starting in on her work for the day.


Top tips for young professionals

Claire’s key tips for professionals revolve around mistakes and mentorship. Making mistakes can be hard to accept, she says.  You might think that the more successful you are, the fewer mistakes you’ll make. But that’s not true. You’ll make mistakes throughout your career, and you have to accept that. Learn how to be authentic, how to apologize, to forgive yourself, and to move on. Just as important as learning how to move on from mistakes is finding a good mentor. Claire is so convinced in the power of a good mentor that she wrote a book about it! Having a mentor is critical to opening doors, finding your path, and identifying people who can guide you on that road, she says.


The importance of internships

If you’re wondering how to get a career in journalism, you’ve probably considered doing an internship. According to Claire, an internship in journalism, publishing, and media is one of the best ways to ensure a successful career. “Internships are a programatized form of mentorship,” Claire says. They’re a chance to try something you might not have a lot of experience with. Internships are also a chance to try and learn from someone. Approach an internship as a potential mentorship,and you’ll get even more out of it than you anticipate.


Listen to The Intern Group’s podcast here.


1. Untitled, by CoWomen on Unsplash

2. Untitled, by dole777 on Unsplash

Photos and blog by Maeve Allsup

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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