Journalism Cover Letter Example and Tips

As a journalist, you have the ability to tell news stories in a persuasive, compelling way. Use your skills and our cover letter examples and tips to create an impressive professional journalism cover letter  and convince employers that you’re a top job candidate.

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By Donna Wright 4 minute read

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Free text journalism cover letter example

One of the best ways to write a cover letter is to use cover letter examples to understand what yours should look like. Here’s a cover letter sample that can help you catch the eye of a recruiter:

Dear Mr. Smith,

It wasn’t until I was in New York, standing in front of the Times Square ball at midnight on December 31, 2019, that I realized how much I absolutely loved journalism. Ever since, I have gone through plenty of journalistic experiences, including covering protests in Southern California and White House press conferences, but that moment covering the Times Square ball drop has always ranked as one of my favorites.

I have a dedication to covering the news, and I have never shied away from getting the most insightful observations in a situation, even when it has been difficult or dangerous to do so. No matter what, I believe that people should be able to know what’s going on in the world, and my past job positions have always relied on me to get the scoop when no one else could.

No matter where you need me, I love discovering new pieces of information that no one else can. I look forward to talking with you about some areas in your company’s news coverage that I believe I can significantly improve through my unique approach to gathering the news.

Sincerely,
Carrie Shoulders

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Journalism cover letter: 5 key tips

With an exciting career in journalism on the line, take your time and craft a thoughtful, powerful and professional sounding journalism cover letter by following the following five key tips. If you’re new at writing cover letters, we suggest you use a ResumeHelp expertly-prepared cover letter template as base. Simply customize it to fit the job description of the journalist role that you’re applying for.

1

Start with a strong “elevator pitch”

A good journalist knows the importance of a quick, catchy “elevator pitch” to make a point, land a good story or get noticed. Beginning your journalism cover letter in just the same way is recommended. To appeal to hiring managers who are inundated with cover letters, resumes and applications for each open job role, lead off with an impactful statement that has the reader saying, “Wow, this candidate is impressive.” Once you catch the hiring manager’s attention, you can rest assured that the entire cover letter will be read. For example: “As the daughter of an editor-in-chief for the Walden Farms Chronicle, you might say journalism is in my blood. I spent 10 straight summers going to work with my father, fueling my passion for writing news.”

2

Give specifics about how you can excel at the job

In the journalism field, it’s important to write for a publication that shares your core values, beliefs and goals. Perform a bit of research to learn more about the publisher you’re applying to and share what inspires you about them in your cover letter. Point out specific past work experience and accomplishments to show how you can benefit the company and be a good fit. For example, if you’re a photojournalist, you could write a statement such as  “My photojournalism skills go far above just taking impactful, newsworthy photos. I’ve been on photo shoots in all types of environments, including on building roofs, mountains, underwater and in nine countries around the world, including riding a six foot camel in Egypt.”

3

Highlight important publications in your portfolio

If your specialty in journalism is churning out featured stories for the local newspaper, you want to display key metrics regarding the number of articles and the time span. For example:  “In my current role at The Washington Post, I have been writing, editing and uploading two featured articles each day.” That shows your ability to be productive, and conveys your creativity, diligence, writing, editing and computer skills. Do your best to highlight your out-of-the-box achievements and recognition in the form of awards that you’ve received. This will get you to stand out for more than just being a good writer that can be said the same for most other job candidates. Allow your measurable accomplishments to convince the reader that you’re a standout candidate that deserves a job interview.

4

Present a mix of hard and soft skills

The journalist job description will include the necessary skills required for a journalist job candidate. Those skills are there for a reason: busy hiring managers set up applicant tracking systems (ATS) to find those skills (in the form of keywords) in the application materials submitted. Be sure to tailor your cover letter to include those skills, which will most likely include soft skills like communication, persuasion, ethics, curiosity and objectivity, and learned hard skills like research, interviewing, news reporting, investigative reporting, editing and social media. Look at our cover letter journalism examples to see how to incorporate your skill set.

5

Proofread your letter carefully

Reminding a journalist to proofread your cover letter may seem unnecessary, but you’d be surprised at how many job candidates rush through writing a cover letter to submit the job application as fast as possible (and commit some bloopers in the process). Prospective publishers will be expecting an error-free cover letter that exhibits attention to detail, so make sure to review your letter thoroughly before you submit it. Our cover letter resume builder tool has spell check built in to ensure that there are no oversights. 

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Write a journalism cover letter in 5 steps

​​Whether you’re writing a journalism cover letter to apply for a news reporter, feature writer, correspondent, columnist, sports writer, photojournalist, investigative reporter, graphic artist, junior editor or managing editor, you can benefit from the following five steps to write a powerful cover letter.

1. Cover letter header

At the top of your journalism cover letter, display your name and contact information in the header, including your name, phone number or email address to contact you for a job interview. Be sure your information is current. As a journalist, you’ll also include links to your journalism portfolio, professional website, social media profile or networking profile, such as LinkedIn. If you’ve done a lot of journalism work, your portfolio of samples will document publications and experience that you can refer to in your journalism cover letter or resume. Below your contact information, left align the hiring manager’s contact information.

Example:

Your name
Your phone number
Your location
Your email address
Link to your interior design portfolio

2. Personalized cover letter salutation

Address the hiring manager directly by name rather than a generic salutation like, “Dear Hiring Manager” or the never recommended, “To whom it may concern.” ResumeHelp career experts suggest you look at the job advertisement for the hiring manager’s name and it’s not listed, look on the company website for who is heading up the journalism team that you’re looking to join.

Cover letter salutation example:

Dear Mr. Marshall,
Dear Ms. Marshall:
Dear Dr. Marshall,

3. Cover letter introductory paragraph

The first paragraph of your cover letter is where you’ll introduce yourself with a hook and list your best journalism achievements. This will make the hiring manager want to read more from your cover letter and how you’ll fit the job role. Perhaps you create a catchy sentence or two mentioning your favorite moment of your career – maybe you were reporting outside of the Tony Awards in New York City and you met your biggest mentor in the field of journalism who was also reporting on the award show and gave you some career-changing advice. The cover letter opening paragraph gives you a chance to show your creativity by saying something about yourself through a quick story that makes you a memorable job candidate.

Example:

As an experienced journalist with over nine years of experience, I’m thrilled to apply for the entertainment writer position at Newsday Publications. I am privileged to say that I grew up reading your newspaper as my best friend’s dad was one of your featured news writers. He would take us to local events and show us how he crafted a story, leading to my passion for writing and following in his footsteps. My out-of-the-box creativity as well as my five years of writing experience for ABC Advertising as a junior copywriter, make me an excellent fit for this position.

4. Cover letter body paragraph(s)

So now that you’ve captured attention to your excellent background in journalism, your second paragraph needs to provide more relevant show stopping information about how you’re the best fit for the job opening. This job application may be for a job title that’s constantly on the front lines, looking for the newest scoop, so show how you’re willing and able to do whatever it takes to get a great news story. Try to come up with a past job experience where you were called upon to go out of your comfort zone to perhaps interview sources or visit an unsafe location. Be sure to tie in your years of experience and add any achievements that make you an ideal candidate for the job position. Don’t forget to refer to the professional work samples in your portfolio that will back up what you say in your cover letter and resume.

Example:

I can honestly say that through hard work over my five years at LYQ-TV, I went from a timid intern to a confident field reporter. While I still get excited butterflies in my stomach while driving to a crime scene, accident scene or other newsworthy location, the feeling is not fear but instead excitement about my upcoming live broadcast. Besides my on-air broadcasting skills, I have proven my strong writing style through online articles and social media posts based on my coverage. I have earned recognition not only from the LYQ-TV station manager and team members, but also from local law enforcement and community services for my maturity and accuracy covering the news. My out-of-the-box interview skills allow me to persuade the interviewee to provide more details and make for a more detailed and interesting video segment or written piece. 

5. Closing/Strong call to action

In the closing last paragraph of your journalism cover letter, you need to show your astute journalist persuasion skills and confidence by boldly asking for a job interview. By using a phrase like, “I look forward to the opportunity to provide you further information…”, you are basically pushing for the hiring manager to contact you. Be sure to thank the reader and close your letter with a formal sign-off like “Sincerely” or “Best Regards.”

Example:

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application for the journalist role at your publication. I look forward to the opportunity to provide further information about the published work samples in my portfolio and share with you further about how I can contribute to your award-winning team of journalists.

Sincerely,
Jennifer L. Johnson

If you’re new at writing a cover letter, use the journalism cover letter examples on this page to get started writing your own.

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Key skills for a journalism cover letter

A journalist will be expected to demonstrate both hard skills (technical) and soft skills (personality traits) to effectively get the job done. While writing skills are obviously the most important skill, there are many other skills that a publisher will require a journalism job candidate to have in order to produce and deliver impactful mass media news stories.

Journalism hard skills

  • Writing skills
  • Research
  • Technical skills
  • Interviewing
  • Digital journalism
  • News reporting
  • Investigative reporting
  • Associated Press, Chicago styles
  • Editing skills
  • Email marketing
  • Content management
  • Social media
  • SEO/SEM

Journalism soft skills

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Create your journalist cover letter (and resume) with our help

In the exciting field of journalism, you know the importance of research and that includes learning as much as you can about writing journalism cover letters and resumes. Use these links to gain knowledge and find the right tools, templates and examples to create the most impressive journalism cover letter and journalism resume:

Cover Letter Builder: Build your journalism cover letter with our online resume tool that easily leads you through the writing steps in minutes!

Cover Letter Templates: Pick a cover letter template to use as base for your journalism cover letter and simply add your information. It’s that simple!

Cover Letter Examples: Our cover letter examples are expertly written for different industries and job roles including journalism!

How to Format a Cover Letter: Learn which cover letter fonts, colors, sections and spacing will make your cover letter look the most professional in the eyes of a prospective employer, recruiter or hiring manager.

Journalism Resume Examples – Use these resume examples whether you’re just starting out as a junior level journalist or looking for your next exciting role in the field of journalism.

Writer Resume Examples – Sometimes you just need a bit of inspiration to create a powerful resume and these writer resume examples are a great starting point.

Editor Resume Examples – Land your next editor job with your best editor resume with help from these editor resume examples that give you the ideal base letter to whip up a quick first draft.

Listing Writing Skills on a Creative Resume – Prominently highlighting your writing skills is the key to getting the hiring manager to consider you a top candidate.

Nonprofit Cover Letter: Discover advices, examples and strategies for crafting a standout cover letter tailored to the nonprofit sector.

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FAQ: Journalism cover letter

Have questions? We’re here to help.

In addition to the key elements that every journalism-related cover letter should have (header, greeting, introduction, body paragraphs and closing), in your news reporter cover letter, demonstrate your writing skills, as well as strong communication, persuasive abilities, creativity and your enthusiasm for the opportunity to work for the specific publisher or broadcasting network. Mention your most relevant news reporting accomplishments in current events, why you chose this career path and how the prospective employer will benefit from hiring you for the news reporter role.  

Your broadcast journalism cover letter is more than just an application document that accompanies your broadcast journalism resume. Be sure to show your communication and writing skills to make a lasting first impression on the potential employer. Besides listing your publications, awards and other journalistic accomplishments, show your passion, motivation and enthusiasm for the company and position you’re applying for. Turn your relevant experience into a creative story that highlights your most impressive skills and published pieces. For example, relate a story about a notable achievement, such as being assigned to cover a tense local election on Election Day, and how your broadcast that you had to write and broadcast in mere hours earned you a media award. Broadcast journalists may all be good writers, but any recognitions you can highlight makes you a memorable job candidate.

A professional cover letter for journalism should include these three main elements:

  1. Introductory paragraph: An introduction of yourself to the hiring manager through an attention-grabbing few sentences summarizing your experience, best accomplishments and passion for the journalism position.
  2. Body paragraph(s): Expand on how your journalism career has prepared you to perform the requirements listed in the job posting. Brag about your most relevant experience, most impressive skills and major accomplishments that other candidates may not have.
  3. Closing: Provide a “thank you” directed to the reader for considering you an applicant for the job role. Then, show your confident side by suggesting the hiring manager review your portfolio and call you for an interview. A strong call to action can make the difference in furthering you in the hiring process.

Need more inspiration? Looking at a journalism cover letter sample is a great way to start writing a good cover letter.

Yes, submitting a cover letter along with your journalism resume and job application makes a difference towards the success of your job search. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to show off your writing skills and directly demonstrate your ability to be a good journalist. What you write in your cover letter also gives the hiring manager or prospective employer a glimpse into your personality and work ethic to show you can fit in with the company culture and team members. While your resume lists your experience in the form of bullets, your cover letter can expand on your experience to highlight accomplishments and fill in any gaps.

If you’re uncertain about your ability to write a great cover letter, then use the ResumeHelp Cover Letter Builder. It makes the process much simpler all around.

On average, you should be writing between a half page and three-quarters of a page in length. This gives you enough space to talk about why you’re interested in the job without making it seem like you’re talking for too long. Additionally, it ensures that the cover letter isn’t too short, either, with a surplus of white space on one page making you seem unqualified. Look at the cover letter journalism examples on this page for how to word your own letter to be the ideal length.

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience or you are a recent graduate, you can still utilize this cover letter example. Just include the most relevant experience that you do have. This may be academic experience, volunteer or internship activities, or internship experience. No matter what it is, as long as it involves skills that can apply to journalism, use it in your cover letter and resume to apply for any relevant positions.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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