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For me it was merely being recognized as an expert communicator. At the time after college, I was working as a landlord managing my fathers rental property business. I only got paid free rent, but I still needed a job to draw a paycheck. I went to a nearby employment agency hoping that I would be able to find something. The recruiter took one look at my resume and noticed that I had majored in English and immediately knew exactly where to assign me. She arranged for me to work at a technical communications firm as a proofreader for instruction manuals written by technical writers. I worked there for a few months until I was then laid off. After that I worked for several technical communication companies around the area. As far as preparation, check out this link: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130715151701-17000124-how-to-avoid-ending-up-on-the-unemployment-line?trk=tod-home-art-list-small_1
Writing, writing and more writing. I work in a news room, to be specific I am a web producer for a CBS/Gannett station, and I write stories for the web, as well as edit reporter's stories. Your writing is what will set you apart and is what ultimately leads to the ability to tell a captivating story. This is my first job out of college and it was not that hard to get. However, I applied to any job within the news field so I could gain experience. I actually work a lot in social media, a field I had not specifically trained in but is becoming a growing and important part of the media.
The many ways in which people consume news is expanding like crazy. So make sure you have a good foundation in writing that translates to all forms of news.