Three tips for getting your journalism published from alumna Nairobi Williese Barnes

By Nairobi Williese Barnes

As a recent high school graduate and current Student Reporting Labs alumna, I am proud to have gotten a lot of my work published in major news outlets.

Since 10th grade at Oakland Military Institute in Oakland, California, I’ve worked with both KQED (the Bay Area’s public media station) and PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs. From writing and editing, to being a production assistant and host, there have been so many different types of roles I’ve played– with all of them teaching me something new each time. 

I’ve covered everything from sex education in schools, to how colorism and natural hair discrimination affects Black women. My stories have been published on the PBS NewsHour and KQED’s YouTube channels and in Teen Vogue.

These experiences have helped me enhance my knowledge about creating videos that reach broad audiences, and now I’m sharing my top three tips on how to get your journalism published! 

Tip 1: Have a concise story and pitch

When you want to get a piece published the first thing you need is a great pitch– the foundation for your story. Something useful to do when writing a pitch is to ask yourself a few questions: Is your idea relevant? Who will be included? How much time will you need to put this together? 

Tip 2: Be open to change and constructive criticism

When your producer gives you comments about your piece, it’s best to work with them to get to the end goal. Don’t take constructive criticism to heart, just go with the flow. 

Tip 3: Keep working hard!

This might sound simple, but it takes a lot to write a pitch, then a script, then execute, then edit. Trust me, I know it’s a lot of work. Don’t get discouraged; keep trying if you believe in your idea. Your producers will work with you to reach your goal. 

I hope my advice gives you something to think about when making your next piece. Good luck!