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10 tips for successful journalism school contest

Pick a place in a prestigious School of Journalism (ESJ Lille, CFJ, IPJ, CUEJ ) is not a simple matter. Competitions include events both knowledge, general knowledge, practice, let alone English or oral motivation. How to prepare? What methods to succeed the big day? Here are 10 ways to get you on the path to success


Every journalist must keep abreast of daily news or he would not have the necessary material to do their job. That’s why every journalism school entrance exam have at least one current test, in questionnaire form, multiple choice questions, answers or even to develop oral.

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To get there, read a free daily is not enough. Instead, we must multiply the angles of approach, the media (print, web, radio, TV), analysis, and especially compile all records in order to retain the essential facts, chronology, the name of the protagonists , etc. As stated in the CFJ Site "get ready seriously to tests avoiding cramming. Have the permanent concern to learn, so to know, but especially to understand. "

2. Bescherelle your prose

Is it necessary to recall: French make mistakes every third word is not possible. This is unacceptable, including when you want to work on the radio or on TV! If you think the spelling or grammar mastery is your Achilles heel, put the package to fix it. Especially there are many free websites that challenge you remember the main French rules and offer exercises to practice with simultaneous correction. No excuses !

3. Too stylish

Radio, print, web or TV, every journalist has its own style. Rest assured, the schools are not looking to recruit Nobel Prize for literature, they are there to help you find and develop your own. Rest they want people who can express themselves correctly (see tip 2) and clearly. "Whatever the test, try to write in a lively style, with simple words, short and concrete. Be specific and banish the convoluted formulas, stereotypes, useless words "and specifies the CFJ.

In creative events you can afford to be more original. But beware not to do too much at the risk of losing your marker or ring true. If you want to develop your style you can find workshops or books to help you. And especially reading, either the press or literature, vary the styles, find the turns of phrase, the words used and train yourself to write "how to". Finally, do all to build your vocabulary.

4. Ability to synthesize, are you there?

Press the journalists or broadcasting are used to produce content in the second or character length. You will have to also learn to work in a specific context. That is why you will find in some competitions a comprehensive test (a press kit, film ). This is an exercise with a specific methodology on which it takes time to train.

And all the trials are limited in time and in length (often a page written), which requires to be synthetic. You must use a specific vocabulary and avoid paraphrasing or pleonasms to get to the point. So when you train with the annals, always remember to do it in terms of time and length.

5. Finding angles

Several tests have a learning: write a synopsis, sorting mails, do a report. It is not expected that you’re already a seasoned journalist, but to have some reflexes. One of them is whether find an angle, that is to say, an interesting way to treat a subject. For example on such a broad theme that "getting out" (about 2013 CFJ), we must develop a coherent record and that will interest readers with original articles that have not been seen elsewhere

To get there, one solution: to train. For example, each week, take each weeklies and try to imagine how they treated their folder (no cheating!) Or take chestnut subjects (the school year, balances, Christmas, etc). You can also do the reverse: imagine what folder such topic you read might fit

6. Curiosity is a good default (or a bad quality)

The adage ment, or rather it is for you to do lie! Because curiosity is a good thing when used wisely. Be curious demonstrates openness, attention to the world around you and the people you meet, a willingness to go beyond appearances and misconceptions (the opposite of jaded person) or some perseverance and pugnacity. Being curious is considered that there are always things to learn and to know! But all this in one objective: to serve the truth, which implies a certain ethics. To you to demonstrate in practical tests, and defend your oral

7. The media, my passion

As part of the oral tests, you have to prove you’re done for the journalist. Or what if you do not know what you mean! For the jury, there is nothing worse than candidates who have a fantasy vision of the business or who think revolutionize journalism.

To the point, you must know the key figures of the sector, the names of large groups, titles and their chief editor, major changes in the sector and the profession, etc. You must also have a business approach. For this, try to meet journalists to learn more about what they do, their journey, their vision of the profession. If you can, make a small observation training in writing, participate in a collaborative site, keep a blog, etc. The idea is that you never speak as well of what we ourselves have seen and experienced

8. Casting fashion

The competition program CFJ face a synopsis test, four of proposing names of guests for a TV broadcast debate on a topic of news. Objective: to have a relevant panel but also diversified perspectives and original.

So you must list each topic recent news of a number of personalities and experts in the political, economic, intellectual, scientific, artistic, etc., with some biographical and especially how they stand in relation to the subject.

For this, see the sections of media debates, the galleries, blogs, and discussion programs (Tonight or Never, C in the air, the phone rings, to name a few). A person may very well be found in several themes

9. Are you ready ?

Ability to speak English has become obvious to journalists, whether in order to diversify their sources, follow the Twitter son of foreign colleagues, or to meet with non-French speakers. That’s why all competitions have at least an English test, written or oral, or both. Objective: To check your understanding and especially your expression capabilities.

Needless to recall, to improve or maintain their level, you have to practice. Since you need to consult the media, do it also in English (Herald Tribune, Time, BBC, CNN, etc), you will make one stone! And then train yourself to speak: do you find an English or American buddy in your city to converse and he can correct your mistakes. Let’s go!

10. Natural

If they place high up on the knowledge and general education, schools do not want to recruit as many contests beasts. Through creativity tests, practice or oral, they seek to know you better, to see if your personality is compatible with the journalist.

A tip: do not try to pretend to be someone you are not. For example if you have a somewhat reserved nature, do not try to hide it, make it a quality showing that you know to listen – as long as it does not prevent you from doing good work.

"In the written and oral, will be asked you to be yourself; sincerity, truth, the reality of your motivation, natural will be your best assets "confirms the CFJ.

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