What's your favourite scary movie? …

If you see that phrase as more than just a question but also a terrible way to start a phone call, you have probably watched at least one of the Scream movies.

Ever since the first movie came out in 1996, it grew into a big franchise with a massive cult following. The concept of every one of these films is a person or persons wearing a big cloak and a Ghostface mask, tormenting people over the phone and killing them in a classic slasher movie kind of way.

In between all the blood, gore and mystery, these films also provide a long list of lessons and tips that journalists can take with them to face the scary moments in the world of journalism.

Alrika Möller from media update faced Ghostface to bring you some top journalism tips.

Be terrifyingly persistent and tenacious

One of the most iconic journalists to ever be created for film is Gale Weathers, played by none other than Courtney Cox. She is an extremely committed and sometimes relentless journalist who will do anything and everything for the story. She literally never gives up.

You might think that persistence is only essential to investigative journalists. Yes, it is an important skill for them, but persistence is a skill that every journalist needs.

Investigative journalists need to be tenacious in their pursuit of the truth, but every other journalist needs to be persistent in their pursuit to find worthwhile stories and finish the pieces they are stuck on.

Jumping to conclusions can be fatal

The original Scream movie created the foundation for every film that follows it — all because it relies on the concept that nothing is as it seems.

The music builds as the character walks down a dark hallway, making all of us think the killer is going to jump out of the shadows or be right behind them and just as the music reaches the horror movie peak … nothing happens.

Another example is that sometimes when someone dies, we are quick to find out that it is, in fact, not the case.

As a journalist, you have our permission to jump from jump scares, as long as you never jump to conclusions. When you do, you might miss the deeper truth in a story or the reason for someone's actions.

If you really want to write the best article or story you possibly can, you have to reserve judgment and see where the story and the facts take you before you start writing. There is always more to the story.

Don't fear the tech of the time

When the first Scream film came out way back in 1996, its time was made obvious by the fashion choices and the massive landline phones. In this film, our killer uses a tiny retro-looking machine to change their voice.

Since then, Scream has stayed up with the times, using caller ID at the beginning of the second one and focusing on web streaming as a major plot point for the 2011 instalment. In the fifth and sixth films, the killer — or killers (wink, wink) — use an app on their phone to change their voice.

The Scream movies aren't afraid of using the newest tech, so why should you be?

As a journalist, there are endless ways you can use tech — whether it involves using AI programmes such as Grammarly to help you edit your work or sites to help you brainstorm.

If you are really interested in keeping up with the times, you can host a podcast as a way of journalism or share your articles with people on social media. There are so many different ways that you can utilise technology to take your journalism to new heights.

Journalists can make use of technology in impactful ways, such as broadcasting and streaming, as well as smaller ways — like different platforms and tools to connect with sources that are far away.

Don't trust anyone … sources included

As previously mentioned, Gale — Woodsboro's journalistic rockstar — goes above and beyond for her stories. She digs up extra evidence that even the police don't have. Why? Because she needs to verify.

She and the other characters who are being hunted by the infamous Ghostface killer do their own digging in trying to figure out who the person behind the mask is. They check every source and never ever just take someone at their word.

This is good advice for hunting masked killers and working as a journalist. No matter who the source is, the truth is that they have their own perception and motives that affect how they see a situation and how they tell you the story.

That said, you don't have to be as distrustful as Gale. Trust but verify.

Mistakes are never the goal, but they can happen, and if you don't double or triple-check your sources, you can get something as small as a date or as big as a person's name wrong. That's never good!

Better safe than sorry. Gale knows what I'm talking about …

Trust your gut

Instincts come with time and experience. The character of Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell, is one of (if not the main focus) of five out of the six films. The last two focus heavily on two sisters, Tara and Sam Carpenter, played by Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera respectively.

And Gale — well, she is a main character in every one of the Scream movies.

If you are being hunted by a masked killer that often, you will learn a thing or two. They learn from these experiences and develop some great instincts that help them, later on, to fight yet another masked killer in another film.

You are a journalist for a reason. Your experiences as a journalist and in life developed some pretty great instincts. Trust them!

Your instincts will tell you if a story is worth pursuing or if you are on the right track with your investigation. Your instincts will also let you know when a story is at its end or when an article needs a follow-up.

By trusting your journalistic instinct, you will also be able to develop your voice as a writer or presenter.
Journalists, even if you forget every single moment of all six Scream movies … never forget Gale and the journalistic genius of the Scream films.

What movie moment taught you the most about journalism? Let us know in the comments section below.

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