Asking yourself "Do I need a cover letter?" We surveyed 200 hiring decision-makers to find out if cover letters are still important in 2020.
Writer’s block happens to everyone.
That’s alright when you’re subconsciously trying to take some time to synthesize your thoughts on a topic you have been researching for months.
It’s not alright when rent is due, and you haven’t finished your journalism cover letter.
Print is dying, and competition is rough.
You need a first-page cover letter.
In this guide you’ll find:
- Two journalism cover letter examples: one for someone with experience, and one for an internship.
- Rules to follow regarding the cover letter format.
- A 15-minute template that you can update with your information.
Here are two journalism cover letter examples.
Journalism Cover Letter Examples
The first journalism cover letter sample comes from Jerry, who started when typewriters were still around, computers were considered for kids, and has written more pages than L. Ron Hubbard. Let’s see how he lays out his experience in the column.
Example #1: Experienced Journalism Cover Letter Sample
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Jerry C. Simpson
2473 Lincoln Drive
Needmore, PA 17238
Needmore, January 3, 2021
New York Daily News
1 Main Avenue
New York, NY 10004
I am writing to express interest in the position of Head Sports Journalist at the New York Daily News. Having 12 years of experience as a professional football player, as well as 10+ years working for Needmore Daily newspaper, I know the world of sport very well, and I have sufficient skills and experience for our cooperation to be successful.
I graduated in journalism and media at the University of Minnesota in 2006, but started my working experience in 2009 by achieving a six-month internship in the sport section of New York Times. During that time, using acquaintances from times of my football career, I became famous for a series of 12 interviews and the discovery of one of the biggest corruption scandals in the world of American football. After the internship, I set up my own online newspaper—Sportsline. During my almost ten years as Editor-in-Chief I was responsible for supervising the work of the team of 23 freelancers as well as managing the football sections. As a journalist I mainly dealt with match reports and interviews. My previous career as a professional footballer greatly facilitates access to many famous people from the world of football.
I am sure that with my acquaintances, experience in team management and writing itself, I fully meet the expectations of your future Head Journalist of Sport Section. I attach my resume and portfolio with a sample of my articles.
When would be a good time to schedule a meeting or a call for me to tell you about how an intern blew the whistle on one of the biggest scandals in American sports?
Jerry C. Simpson
Now that’s a story.
Are you a journalist fresh out of school? Need to write a journalism cover letter for an entry-level position or an internship?
Check out Janet’s cover, she’s applying for a journalist internship at the Sacramento Times. She only has the school newspaper and some private projects to show, but she leverages it in an expert way—packaging it as something new and fresh she can bring to the Times.
Example #2: Journalism Internship Cover Letter
Janet C. Bryant
1739 Timber Ridge Road
Sacramento, CA 58147
Sacramento, February 17, 2021
12 Main Avenue
Sacramento, CA 58147
As a recent double major in Sociology, Journalism and Mass Media from University of California, I am more than glad to apply for the internship at the Sacramento Times. I believe that my comprehensive journalism education that I have taken in the USA, Spain and Germany, make me a perfect candidate for this position.
I am only at the beginning of my career path, but I already have sizable experience in journalism. While still in high school, I was elected the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. During high school and university times I wrote 600+ articles and conducted almost 50 interviews, which were published in a school newspaper and Internet versions of local newspapers. Contact with people and social behavior have always been my biggest interest, which is why in 2015, I started a YouTube channel. In over 100 films, I ask people on the street about their opinion on current events. I can pride myself on 15,000+ subscribers and average viewership of 75,000 views per film. I have extensive skills in Internet journalism, and can apply them to reach new audiences for the Sacramento Times.
I am open, resourceful and take on new challenges with courage. Being an intern at the Times, I can gain professional experience by learning from experienced colleagues, and at the same time bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to your company, which surely will be beneficial for both sides. My knowledge of social media and internet journalism would help in development of the digital version of your channel.
When would be a good time to have a call or a meeting to discuss how I can increase Sacramento Times’ YouTube presence?
Janet C. Bryant
Janet wastes no time in describing her work—they’re going to read her portfolio anyway. She shows the broad scope of the work she did, and quantifies her reach and audiences. This is all useful information to any employer.
Don’t have a resume ready yet? See a dedicated example here:
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Let’s write your own column.
How to Write a Journalism Cover Letter
1. Square Up The Cover Letter Format
Your whole career you might have dealt with publishers that sorted out the formatting for you. Your words were good enough. Still, you don’t wish somebody saw your first draft. Or perhaps even the thing you sent to the publisher. Make sure your journalism cover letter checks out.
This is a solid cover letter format:
- Make sure your font is the same as your resume font. Pick a sensible one: Bell MT, Cambria, Noto, etc.
- Always ‘Align Left’. There is no need to use justification.
- Use 1.15 line spacing, and leave an empty line between every section and paragraph.
- Use at least a 1-inch margin on every side.
- Perfect cover letter length? 1 page.
It’s time to consider what things to include in your cover letter.
2. Make Your Journalism Cover Letter Header Match Your Resume
Here’s the first position on your flatplan. A copy & paste job, your favorite kind.
The header of your cover letter should match your resume header. Below your details you should put the city and date of the letter, and the details of the correct editor or hiring manager below. Call them up to check who’s handling it, use LinkedIn or their website.
Check against these:
Journalist Cover Letter Sample Header
[ Your Full Name]
[ Your Job Title ] (Optional)
[ Phone Number ]
[ Email Address ]
[ LinkedIn Profile ] (Optional)
[ City and Date ]
[ Hiring Manager’s Full Name ]
[ Hiring Manager’s Position ]
[ Company Name ]
[ Company Street Address ]
[ City and Zip Code ]
Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.
3. Introduce Yourself By Identifying The Position You’re Applying For
Everything needs a strong tagline. A headline that can hypnotize. This is the place to create that for yourself. Address your cover letter by first name. At the start of your cover letter, identify which position you’re applying for.
Then, supply a solid reason to keep reading—an achievement, or something quantifiable that will set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Think about how you could be the most impactful to your new employer.
Start by filling these [blanks]:
Journalism Cover Letter: Introduction
Dear [Editor’s Name],
I was excited to find the opening for a [Target Position Name] at [Target Organization Name]. Having spent the last [number of years]+ years as a [Previous Position Title], I have devoted my energy to developing [very strong relevant skills you have] skills that will allow me to handle the [Key requirement from the job posting] at [Target Organization Name] effectively and contribute to [key goal of the organization].
Expert Hint: If you don’t have your own website, you can host a low-cost portfolio on Squarespace, Carbonmade, or Journo Portfolio. All are high-functionality fully customizable options that professionals all over the globe use.
4. Editorialize Your Second Paragraph
Most journalism cover letters read like a kittyblog. Seriously. Get right to the point laying out exactly what you can do for them—in numbers. Don’t describe the work you do in detail—they can find that out much better from your portfolio. Instead, focus on the impact you can make for them.
What are their problems right now? What is the most crucial requirement in the whole job posting? Focus on that. Be the problem solver, and the person ready to take on any challenge. Back it up from numbers and achievements from your resume.
Start with this:
Journalist Cover Letter Sample: Second Paragraph
[Target Company Name] are seeking a [Target Position Name], with competencies in [refer to the requirements of the job]. At [Previous Employer Name], I was regularly writing for a readership of [estimate readership], and I have acquired priceless expertise in [refer to the requirements of the job], which brought about a [a metric, achievement, or statistic that proves your excellence in this area]. I have authored over [number] texts in the fields of [subject matter]. I have also devoted a lot of time to developing my managerial skills through [relevant responsibilities, duties, or projects you’ve successfully completed, supported by metrics, if possible].
Expert Hint: Don’t know what your typing speed is? In approximately 60 seconds, you will! Take an online test and run it a few times to find the average. If you don’t have experience to put on your journalist internship cover letter, you can even take the accuracy rate from this test and put it next to your wpm here, and in the skills section on your resume.
5. Show Them The Passion
You are in luck. This job is one of those that doesn’t make you look silly if you display genuine enthusiasm for it. There’s a lot of low-level and bad-faith journalism out there, sure. But it also has the potential to be revolutionary, passionate, or at least important.
If this sounds like you, articulate your motivation in this paragraph. Explain how the approach and goals of the company align with your own, and the resulting culture-fit will result in good outcomes for everyone.
Fill in the [blanks]:
Journalism Cover Letter Sample: Third Paragraph
By joining [Target Organization Name], which devotes so much time and energy to [the mission of the agency/their values/their activities/other], I would finally be able to apply my [skills/experience] to [what the organization does]. My experience in [key important requirement] combined with [Target Position Name]’s established practices and resources will deliver world-class journalism to the people of [location].
6. Leave a Call to Action and Sign Off
Just before you sign off your cover letter formally, ask for a meeting or a call to discuss your most significant achievement, and how that can bring benefit to your new employer.
Journalist Cover Letter Sample: Sign Off & Call to Action
When would be a good time to have a call or a meeting to discuss how my [your best, most relevant skill/experience/their most important requirement] experience can help [Target Organization Name] achieve [something important to them]?
[Digital Copy of Your Handwritten Signature]
[Your Full Name]
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As you write a cover letter for journalism positions, remember to:
- Match the cover letter header to your resume header, and check that the contact info is up to date—both for you and the hiring editor.
- Identify the position you’re applying to, and introduce yourself with a relevant achievement in the first paragraph.
- List your best achievements that match the requirements of the job, and back them up with numbers and evidence in the second paragraph of your journalism cover letter.
- Show some genuine interest in the organization and the cause, do some research, and write about something that struck you personally in your last paragraph.
- Request an interview and sign off.
Do you have any more questions about writing a cover letter for journalism jobs? Did you find our journalist cover letter example helpful? Leave us a comment, I’ll be more than happy to hear from you!