Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How to be a Reviewer Series

Learning about Reviewing
By Debbie Roome
This week we start a series on how to become a reviewer. This is a field of journalism that is open to all levels of writers. Many newcomers find opportunities to write reviews and some top journalists make a living from doing this.

What do Reviewers do
Most commonly, reviewers write about books, music, theatre, television and restaurants. There are vast areas within each of these categories and opportunities for all personalities and tastes.

What is a Review
A review is an article which analyzes any of the above. If you look at the groupings, you will see they all fit into the entertainment genre. People watch movies and stage shows, read books and dine at restaurants to enjoy themselves. The reviewer provides information and often their personal opinion on whether the entertainment is worthwhile.

Am I Qualified to Write Reviews
The basic skills required are the ability to write well and present a balanced report for the reader. In some circumstances, it is acceptable for the reviewer to inject their personal opinion but this depends on the publication.

Who Publishes Reviews
Most newspapers and magazines print reviews on a regular basis. The editors realize the value in this type of material as many people buy a paper just to see what movies are recommended for weekend viewing. Larger publications generally employ their own reviewers but smaller community papers often rely on freelancers.

Over the next few weeks we’ll examine the different areas of reviewing and discuss how to put together a review and get it into print. Come back next Wednesday to learn about book reviews.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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