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Journalism Cover Letter: Sample, Proper Format, & Writing Guide

Journalism Cover Letter: Sample, Proper Format, & Writing Guide

You’re a writing pro—after all, you make a living making words look good on paper. Suffering from writer’s block when it comes to your cover letter? Let me help.

Michael Tomaszewski
Michael Tomaszewski
Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Resume Expert at Zety

In the era of #fakenews, unsupported claims all over media outlets, and cheap infotainment, it’s your role as a journalist to help people make sense of the world.

 

It’s no small task, but a noble one. You truly are on a mission.

 

But what’s the first step? 

 

Landing that journalist job.

 

And it’s not easy. The field is shrinking so the competition is tougher than ever.

 

To get your big career break, you’ll need a perfect journalism cover letter. And you’ve come to the right place to learn how to write one.

 

This guide will show you a great journalism cover letter example. Plus, the best tips on how to write a professional journalist cover letter step by step.

 

We’ll lead with this sample you can use as a point of reference.

 

Journalism Cover Letter Example

 

Anne Jones

Business Writer, Journalist

512-215-8219

anne.jones@me.com

linkedin.com/in/annejones9

@AnneFJones

 

Anytown, June 29, 2015

 

Mr. Paul Hunter

Editor-in-chief

XYZ Magazine, 3025 Sunset Blvd., Suite 99

New York City, NY 10723

 

Dear Paul:

 

I have been a long-term follower of your reporting and an admirer of the XYZ Magazine’s editorial excellence. When John Smith told me about the opening for Senior Reporter, Business & Tech, at The XYZ Magazine and suggested I apply, I knew this was an opportunity where my writing can make a valuable contribution. 

 

Having 6 years of corporate PR experience in the private sector with ABC, as well as 4 years of experience as a Business Writer for Forbes and FastCompany, I am sure I can provide your readers with exclusive insights and cover stories that will amplify the impact of your publishing.

 

Here are links to a few of my writing samples you might find interesting:

 

  • House of Lie$ / A Pattern of Neglect: part of the series of 8 articles on New Jersey’s dysfunctional real estate market; shortlisted for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.
  • Facebook’s False Standards for Not Removing Multiple Deepfake Videos
  • Exploring the Oceans by Remote Control

 

I have attached my resume with detailed work history and portfolio. 

 

I would love to schedule a call to discuss how my expertise can help the XYZ’s Business & Tech journalism make a lasting impact, both locally and nationally.

 

Sincerely,

 

Anne Jones

512-215-8219

anne.jones@me.com

 

That’s a brilliant cover letter for journalism (or any communications job for that matter).

 

But what truly makes a good journalist cover letter? 

 

To find out, I asked Stephanie Vozza, a writer for FastCompany, Parade, Entrepreneur, and Inc., among other outlets.

Always make a warm connection if possible, especially if you can be referred by a mutual friend. If you don’t have that, simply introduce yourself and give a quick bio. Highlight your experience that would be most relevant to the outlet. Then, include three to five links to your samples. Close by asking to schedule a quick phone call and offer to send more information.

Want to write your journalism cover letter fast to make your job search so much easier? Can’t be bothered with formatting a cover letter in Word?

 

Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

 

sample resume and cover letter set

Sample Cover Letter for a Resume—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.

 

Sample cover letter and a matching resume made with our builder: See 20+ templates and create your cover letter here.

 

To read a more comprehensive guide on cover letter writing, see our cover letter 101: Cover Letter—The Best Samples & How to Write Yours

 

Writing a cover letter for a journalist internship? Switch over to Internship Cover Letter Examples & a Writing Guide

 

Now, let’s walk through writing a job-winning cover letter for journalist gigs step by step.

 

How to Write a Journalism Cover Letter

 

1. Use a good journalism cover letter format

 

  • Margins should be one-inch on all 4 sides.
  • Go for 1 or 1.15 line spacing.
  • Use an elegant, respectable typeface—digital hasn’t killed the print star yet. Keep your font size between 11pt and 12pt. 

 

Read more: Cover Letter Formatting and Layout

 

2. Create a professional journalism cover letter header

 

 

Learn more about crafting a good-looking heading for your journalist cover letter: Cover Letter Header Examples

  

Not sure how to address your covering letter? See: To Whom and How to Address a Cover Letter (And How to Find the Contact Details)

 

3. Begin your journalist cover letter with a personal greeting and a strong “lead” paragraph

 

  • Start with “Dear” and address the reader by name.
  • Introduce yourself and name the position you’re targeting.
  • Outline your relevant experience.

 

Read more: Unforgettable Cover Letter Opening Lines

 

4. Show that you’re the perfect candidate

 

 

According to the BLS data, jobs in journalism and reporting are in serious decline (a drop of 9% is projected in the following 10 years). A recent Pew Research Center’s report indicates that the worst recession is going to hit newspaper newsroom employees. Does that mean your career is doomed? No! Consider joining a digital reporting team. Digital-native employment has doubled in the past 10 years and you can expect continuous growth.

 

Also, make sure to keep your journalist cover letter short. Anything from 180 and 250 words will do. Let your portfolio do the talking. Learn more here: Ideal Length for a Cover Letter

 

5. Explain why you want in

 

  • Make it clear that you’re not simply desperate to get hired. Make them feel special.
  • You can refer to some of their past articles you’ve found inspiring or make a connection on the grounds of shared values or professional beliefs.
  • You want them to know you’re likely to stay for quite some time and not jump ship whenever a new opportunity comes around.

 

6. End with an offer and include a call to action

 

  • It’s not about your personal benefit but about your employer’s gain.
  • Emphasize that your expertise can help them.
  • Ask for a meeting or a call to discuss what you can bring to the table.

 

Read more: How to End a Cover Letter

 

7. Put a professional sign-off at the bottom

 

  • Write your full name and include a copy of your handwritten signature right above it.
  • At the very bottom, you can retype your phone number and email address.

 

And there you have it. Everything it takes to produce a perfect cover letter for journalists.

 

But don’t forget that to have a shot at that dream job, you still need to write a perfect resume.

 

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

 

Thanks so much for reading. If you need further help, drop me a line in the comments, I’ll be happy to chat. If you have some hot tips for writing journalist cover letters, don’t hesitate to share them. Let’s get the discussion started!

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Michael Tomaszewski
Michael Tomaszewski
Michael, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) is a career writer and the newsletter coordinator at Zety. Apart from sharing his own resume-writing expertise, Michael reaches out to recruitment and hiring gurus to help you learn the most effective strategies for managing your career.
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