In this episode of the Career Insights series, host Danny delves into the world of journalism. Understand what journalism entails, the different types, and its relevance in society. Learn about the qualifications needed to break into the field, tips for building a portfolio, and the significance of internships and networking. Hear about famous journalists and their career journeys, and understand the challenges journalists face today, from fake news to ethical dilemmas. Discover the rewarding aspects of journalism, the impact it has on society, and the personal satisfaction it brings. By the end of this episode, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of journalism, whether you’re aspiring to become a journalist or simply interested in learning more about the field. Tune in!

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Career Insights | The Journey of A Journalist

Text Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello, everybody! This is your host, Danny, and you’re tuned into English Plus Podcast. We’re back with another fascinating episode of our much-loved “Career Insights” series. Each episode in this series is a labor of love, designed to give you a comprehensive, insider’s look at a wide range of professions, to help you decide if it’s the right career path for you. Your support, in the form of shares, ratings, and reviews, is what keeps this series alive and kicking, so we encourage you to continue doing so.

[00:00:34] Today, we’re exploring the dynamic, challenging, and rewarding world of journalism. You know, we’re constantly inundated with information, news, and narratives in today’s interconnected world. But have you ever stopped to consider who’s behind all that content? Who’s out there, rain or shine, digging up stories that inform us, move us, and sometimes even change the world? That’s right. It’s the journalists.

[00:01:01] Journalism is a profession that sits at the epicenter of our society. It shapes our understanding of the world around us, fueling our conversations, influencing our opinions, and at times, challenging our beliefs. It’s an invisible thread that connects us all, offering us a shared understanding of the world.

[00:01:21] A journalist is, in many ways, a steward of truth and a harbinger of change. They wear many hats – they’re investigators, storytellers, influencers, and public servants. And in today’s era of digital information and fake news, their role is more crucial than ever.

[00:01:39] So, buckle up as we delve deep into the trenches of journalism – its history, its challenges, its rewards, and how one breaks into this crucial and exciting field.

[00:01:49] Remember, folks, the “Career Insights” series is here to give you an appreciation for different professions. As we unravel the story of a journalist’s journey today, we hope you gain a deeper understanding and perhaps, who knows, this might just ignite a spark in some of you to embark on this noble path.

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[00:02:08] Alright, let’s dive right in!

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[00:02:15] Now, to appreciate the path of a journalist, we first need to understand what journalism is all about. So, what exactly is journalism? At its core, journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast. It involves the gathering, processing, and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience.

[00:02:41] But here’s the thing, journalism is so much more than that! A journalist is like a bridge between the world and the people. Their role extends beyond mere reporting. They’re tasked with researching topics, interviewing sources, and crafting stories that inform, educate, and sometimes, provoke thought and action.

[00:03:01] And, journalism isn’t just one monolithic entity. It takes on many forms, each with its unique challenges and opportunities. You have print journalism, which includes newspapers and magazines – the oldest form of journalism. Then, there’s broadcast journalism, which comprises television and radio – more visual, more immediate. And finally, we have digital or online journalism, which has truly exploded in the past few decades due to the advent of the internet. This includes news websites, blogs, podcasts, and even social media.

[00:03:34] These different forms of journalism often require different skill sets and approaches, but they all share a common goal – to inform and engage the public.

[00:03:45] As for a brief historical context, journalism has been around in one form or another for centuries. From early news sheets circulated in ancient Rome, through the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, to the evolution of mass-market newspapers in the 19th century, and finally, the rise of radio, television, and internet journalism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

[00:04:08] Each step of this journey has seen journalism adapt to new technologies, new societies, and new challenges. It’s a profession that’s as dynamic and diverse as the stories it tells. But the heart of it, its mission, has always stayed the same: to bring truth to light.

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[00:04:27] Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to how one can become a journalist.

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[00:04:37] Breaking into journalism. It’s not a walk in the park, I can tell you that. But if you’re someone who loves chasing stories, has an insatiable curiosity, and a passion for truth, it could be just the career for you.

[00:04:50] Let’s talk about the skills and qualifications you need. Firstly, a solid foundation in written and verbal communication is absolutely essential. Remember, you’re in the business of telling stories, and you need to be able to do that effectively.

[00:05:04] But writing skills alone aren’t enough. In today’s fast-paced world, journalists need to be multi-skilled. Familiarity with digital technologies, social media, and even basic video and photo editing software can be a huge plus. The industry term for this is “multimedia journalism”, and trust me, it’s more than just a buzzword these days.

[00:05:26] Critical thinking and analytical skills are also crucial. As a journalist, you’re not just reporting the facts, you’re also making sense of them, putting them in context, questioning them. You’re a detective and a storyteller all rolled into one.

[00:05:41] Additionally, journalists often have to work under tight deadlines, so being able to work under pressure, and time management, are also important traits. And let’s not forget the importance of good old-fashioned legwork – the ability to pound the pavement, chase leads, and conduct interviews. You know, really get your hands dirty.

[00:06:00] As for qualifications, a degree in journalism or a related field, such as communications or English, is often a good place to start. However, many journalists also come from diverse academic backgrounds. What matters most is your passion for the field, your willingness to learn, and your ability to tell a compelling story.

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[00:06:21] Next, we’re going to talk about the academic path to journalism. So, stay tuned!

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[00:06:31] Alright, so, let’s continue by discussing the academic path into journalism. The classic route is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. These programs usually offer a comprehensive education in the field, covering areas like news writing, reporting, ethics in journalism, and multimedia skills.

[00:06:49] But, here’s the twist. A journalism degree isn’t the only path into journalism. In fact, many successful journalists come from a variety of academic backgrounds. It could be a degree in English, History, Political Science, or even Science and Technology. The key is to learn how to think critically, write clearly, and be curious about the world around you.

[00:07:11] Why? Because, at its heart, journalism is all about understanding the world and communicating that understanding to others. So, if you’re someone who’s passionate about environmental issues, a degree in Environmental Science might give you the insights and knowledge to be a fantastic environmental reporter. Similarly, a degree in Political Science might help you break down complex political issues for the general public.

[00:07:37] What’s crucial is that, regardless of your degree, you seek out opportunities to hone your journalistic skills. This could be writing for your university newspaper, starting a blog, or doing internships at media organizations. The goal is to build a body of work – a portfolio – that showcases your ability to find and tell stories.

[00:07:58] Remember, folks, journalism is a wide, wide field. It needs people with diverse perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. So, don’t be disheartened if you don’t have a journalism degree. Your unique path could be what sets you apart.

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[00:08:14] Up next, we’ll talk about entry-level jobs in journalism, and how to navigate your way through them. Stay tuned!

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[00:08:25] Alright, folks. Now that we’ve laid out the academic path into journalism, let’s talk about those first steps in the professional world. So, what are some typical entry-level jobs in journalism, and where can they lead you?

[00:08:40] Well, one common starting point is as a junior or staff reporter. Here, you’ll be covering local news, events, or specific beats depending on the media outlet. This is a fantastic way to cut your teeth, learning how to chase stories, conduct interviews, and write compelling news pieces under deadline pressure.

[00:08:59] Then there’s the role of a research assistant or a fact-checker. This might not involve much writing, but it’s a valuable part of the journalistic process. You’ll be ensuring the accuracy of the stories your outlet publishes, and in doing so, you’ll learn a lot about sourcing and verifying information.

[00:09:17] Digital journalism offers roles like content writers and social media coordinators, where you could be creating online content or managing a media outlet’s social media presence. These roles will help you understand the dynamics of online media, SEO, and audience engagement.

[00:09:34] And let’s not forget about internships! They’re an excellent way to get your foot in the door, learn the ropes, and make industry connections.

[00:09:42] Now, where can these entry-level positions lead you? Well, the sky’s the limit, really. With experience, reporters often move on to cover more significant beats, become senior reporters, or even foreign correspondents. They might choose to specialize in investigative journalism or opinion writing.

[00:09:59] On the broadcast side, one might start as a news assistant or associate producer, eventually moving up to become a broadcast journalist or news anchor. In the digital sphere, roles can lead to being a digital content manager or online editor.

[00:10:15] Remember, every journalist’s career path is unique. It’s all about finding your niche, developing your voice, and being open to where the journey takes you.

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[00:10:24] Coming up next, we’ll delve into how to build a portfolio that can make you stand out in this competitive field. Don’t go anywhere!

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[00:10:37] Welcome back, folks! So, we’ve discussed the roles and career paths in journalism. But, before you start applying for those jobs, you’ll need to create a strong portfolio. This collection of your best work is essentially your calling card in the world of journalism.

[00:10:53] But how do you build a portfolio that stands out? Let’s get into it.

[00:10:56] Firstly, variety is key. Include different types of work in your portfolio – news articles, opinion pieces, feature stories, or even multimedia content if you have it. This showcases your versatility and your ability to handle different types of journalistic writing.

[00:11:12] Secondly, focus on quality over quantity. It’s better to have a handful of well-written, well-researched pieces than a mountain of mediocre work. Remember, your portfolio represents your skills and potential as a journalist, so make sure it’s a reflection of your very best.

[00:11:28] Thirdly, don’t shy away from including work done during internships, university assignments, or even pieces from your personal blog. Professional experience is great, but any solid piece of journalistic work is worth showcasing.

[00:11:42] Next, remember to update your portfolio regularly. Your most recent work often reflects your current skills and interests, so make sure your portfolio stays up-to-date.

[00:11:52] Lastly, in today’s digital age, consider creating an online portfolio or personal website. This can be a great platform to showcase your work, your CV, and your contact information all in one place. Plus, it’s easily shareable with potential employers or anyone else in your network.

[00:12:10] Building a strong portfolio takes time and effort, but remember, it’s an investment in your future. So, keep writing, keep improving, and keep showcasing your work.

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[00:12:20] Stick around, everyone. We’re about to dive into the importance of internships and networking in journalism!

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[00:12:30] Alright, folks, let’s delve into something that’s key for budding journalists, and honestly, for most professionals out there: internships and networking.

[00:12:40] Internships are a crucial stepping stone into the world of journalism. They provide practical experience, skills development, and a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of a newsroom. An internship at a respected news outlet not only looks great on your CV but also exposes you to the rigors and rhythms of the industry.

[00:12:59] But there’s another advantage to internships that’s equally important – networking. The contacts you make during your internship can be invaluable for your future career. This could be senior journalists who can guide you, peers who can share the journey with you, or even sources who could be useful for future stories.

[00:13:17] But networking isn’t limited to just internships. It’s a continuous process. Attend industry events, join journalism associations, participate in online forums or discussions. Don’t be shy to reach out to journalists whose work you admire. Remember, the journalism community is interconnected, and establishing relationships within this community can open up opportunities and provide valuable mentorship.

[00:13:44] While networking, always be respectful and genuine. You’re not just building contacts; you’re building relationships. Show genuine interest in others’ work and offer help when you can. Networking isn’t just about taking; it’s about giving as well.

[00:13:58] Internships and networking are your pathways into the industry. They help you get a foot in the door, learn from professionals, and establish connections that could propel your career forward.

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[00:14:09] Alright, folks, we’ve covered quite a bit about breaking into journalism. Up next, we’re going to talk about some of the most famous journalists out there. So, don’t go anywhere!

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[00:14:23] Now, I want to highlight a couple of famous journalists who’ve made significant impacts in the field. Let’s talk about their big breaks, their achievements, and some fascinating stories from their careers.

[00:14:34] First up, we have Christiane Amanpour, the internationally renowned television host and correspondent for CNN. Amanpour’s big break came during the Persian Gulf War in the early ’90s, where her reporting from the front lines made her a household name.

[00:14:49] Her bold and fearless reporting has won her numerous awards, including 11 Emmys, 4 Peabody Awards, and the Courage in Journalism Award. Amanpour has interviewed countless world leaders and has often been the first reporter on the scene in various global hotspots. She’s a testament to the impact of courage and resilience in journalism.

[00:15:10] Next up is Bob Woodward, one of the most influential investigative journalists in history. Woodward, along with his colleague Carl Bernstein, broke the Watergate scandal in the ’70s, which eventually led to the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon.

[00:15:25] Woodward’s tenacity and commitment to uncovering the truth have led him to publish 19 books on American politics, 13 of which have topped best-seller lists. He’s a prime example of how investigative journalism can shape the course of history.

[00:15:41] Last but not least, we have Arianna Huffington, who transformed the landscape of digital journalism. Huffington co-founded The Huffington Post, an online news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read and cited media brands on the Internet.

[00:15:57] Huffington’s innovation brought her numerous accolades, including being named in Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. She has proven that with a fresh perspective and the courage to innovate, you can redefine the world of journalism.

[00:16:13] These journalists have each forged their own paths, but they share a common dedication to the truth and a passion for telling stories that matter. They are proof that journalism can, and does, make a difference.

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[00:16:26] We’re going to take a short break, but when we return, we’ll be diving into the challenges of journalism. Don’t go away!

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[00:16:36] Welcome back! So far, we’ve talked a lot about the appeal and the opportunities of a career in journalism. But, as with any profession, there are challenges, and in journalism, they are unique and ever-evolving.

[00:16:50] One of the main issues journalists face in the current landscape is the proliferation of fake news. In this digital age, information can be spread rapidly and widely, and not all of it is accurate or truthful. Journalists have a critical role in combating misinformation, but it can be a daunting task.

[00:17:09] Then there’s the digital transformation of media. The move from traditional print and broadcast mediums to digital platforms has disrupted the industry. Journalists need to adapt, learn new skills, and find ways to engage audiences who have a world of information at their fingertips.

[00:17:26] Balancing objectivity and personal beliefs is another tightrope journalists walk. It’s crucial to report the facts without letting personal biases influence the story. But journalists are human too, with their own beliefs and perspectives. Striking that balance is often a delicate and challenging task.

[00:17:46] Job instability can also be a significant stressor. News organizations are constantly evolving, downsizing, or changing direction, and job security can sometimes be uncertain. Plus, the pressure of deadlines and the responsibility of reporting accurately can create a high-stress environment.

[00:18:05] Lastly, journalists often face ethical dilemmas and challenges. Should a source be promised anonymity? Should a controversial story be published? How do you report on sensitive or traumatic events? These are decisions journalists often have to grapple with.

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[00:18:21] The challenges are real, but don’t let them dissuade you. Every profession has its difficulties, and overcoming them is part of the job. Up next, we’ll look at the other side of the coin, the rewards of journalism. So, stick around!

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[00:18:39] Welcome back! As we’ve just seen, journalism can be a challenging field, but it’s also one filled with rewards. So, let’s shift our focus onto the brighter side of things!

[00:18:49] First and foremost, journalism plays a pivotal role in society and democracy. Journalists have the power to inform the public, to shed light on the truth, and to hold powerful entities accountable. There’s a profound sense of purpose in being a voice for the voiceless and a force for transparency and accountability.

[00:19:09] Moreover, journalism offers personal satisfaction and intellectual stimulation. No two days are the same in this job. One day you’re covering a local event, the next day you’re reporting on international news. You’re always learning, always growing, always on the pulse of the world’s events. If you’re a curious person with a love for storytelling, journalism can be incredibly rewarding.

[00:19:31] Let’s not forget about the perks that often come with the territory. Depending on your role, journalism can provide opportunities for travel, allowing you to explore new places and cultures. You get to meet a variety of people from all walks of life, each with a story to share.

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[00:19:46] Yes, journalism can be demanding and challenging, but it’s also a career filled with opportunities, excitement, and the ability to make a difference. So, if these rewards resonate with you, journalism may well be your calling.

[00:19:59] Stay tuned, as we’ll explore further about who might be best suited for a career in journalism in our next segment!

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[00:20:11] Now that we’ve discussed the ins and outs of journalism, let’s get a little introspective. Is journalism for you? What kind of personality traits and skills suit this career? Let’s dive in.

[00:20:22] First off, curiosity is a cornerstone of journalism. Journalists are naturally inquisitive, always asking questions, always seeking to know more. If you’re someone who’s always wondering ‘why’ or ‘how’, journalism could be your ideal playground.

[00:20:37] Next, resilience is crucial. In journalism, you’ll face tight deadlines, challenging subjects, and sometimes, criticism or opposition. Being able to bounce back and maintain your determination is key.

[00:20:50] Thirdly, communication skills are fundamental. Journalists not only need to write clearly and engagingly, but they also need to be good listeners, able to extract and understand information from different sources.

[00:21:04] Also, adaptability is a must. The world of news is dynamic and fast-paced. Journalists need to be flexible, able to juggle multiple tasks, and adapt quickly to changing circumstances or news landscapes.

[00:21:17] Finally, a sense of ethics and responsibility is essential. Journalism is not just about telling stories; it’s about upholding the truth and maintaining public trust. Journalists must have a strong ethical compass and a deep sense of responsibility to their audience.

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[00:21:33] These are just a few traits and skills that suit a career in journalism. If they resonate with you, perhaps it’s a path worth considering. But before we wrap up, let’s talk a bit more about the lifestyle and potential opportunities in journalism.

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[00:21:51] Right, onto the lifestyle of a journalist. Let’s not sugarcoat it; it can be hectic. Deadlines are often tight, news can break at any time, and the work can sometimes spill over into evenings, weekends, or even holidays. This fast-paced, always-on-call lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but for some, it’s a thrill.

[00:22:10] However, it’s not all chaos and rush. There can also be slower periods, allowing for more in-depth, investigative work. The job can be incredibly varied, which keeps things interesting. You might be at your desk one day, out in the field the next, and attending a press conference the day after that.

[00:22:26] Work-life balance can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Like any job, it requires setting boundaries, managing your time effectively, and taking care of your physical and mental health.

[00:22:37] Now, as for career growth and opportunities, the sky’s the limit. You might start as a junior reporter or a news assistant but with experience and tenacity, you can move up to become a correspondent, an editor, or even a news director.

[00:22:51] Furthermore, the skills you gain in journalism – like research, communication, and critical thinking – are transferable and highly valued in many fields. So, even if you decide to pivot down the line, your journalism experience can open doors to opportunities in areas like communications, public relations, or digital media.

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[00:23:08] Journalism is a dynamic and rewarding field, but it requires commitment, passion, and resilience. If you have a love for storytelling, a desire to inform and engage, and a drive to continually learn and adapt, then journalism might just be the career for you.

[00:23:24] Up next, we’ll delve into the language of journalism in our English Plus segment. Stay tuned!

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[00:23:34] Alright, folks, now let’s dive into our English Plus segment, where we’re going to talk about the language of journalism. Today, I’ll introduce you to some journalistic keywords and phrases that we’ve come across during the episode. Let’s learn about their meanings and how they are used in context.

[00:23:49] This is the line showing the name of the writer of an article, typically appearing at the top of the published piece. For example, “The byline of the article said it was written by Christiane Amanpour.”

[00:24:02] In journalism, a beat refers to a reporter’s specialized area of coverage. For example, “Bob Woodward, known for his political beat, exposed the Watergate scandal.”

[00:24:16] This is the person or document from which information is obtained. For instance, “The journalist protected her source to ensure they wouldn’t face any backlash.”

[00:24:25] This form of journalism involves in-depth, detailed reporting to uncover scandals, corruption, or other wrongdoings. For example, “Investigative journalism played a key role in bringing the truth of the Watergate scandal to light.”

[00:24:43] This term refers to the written material to be printed or broadcast. For example, “Before going on air, she carefully reviewed her copy.”

[00:24:52] These are difficult situations journalists often face when deciding what is the right course of action, especially when dealing with sources, controversial stories, or sensitive events. For example, “She faced an ethical dilemma about whether to publish the controversial story.”

[00:25:11] This is the practice of being unbiased, not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. For example, “A key part of journalism is maintaining objectivity, even when covering heated topics.”

[00:25:25] This refers to the integration of digital technology into all areas of journalism, which fundamentally changes how news is delivered and consumed. For example, “The digital transformation of media has greatly impacted journalism.”

[00:25:45] This term refers to false information or propaganda published under the guise of being authentic news. For example, “Journalists play a crucial role in combating the spread of fake news.”

[00:26:01] A collection of a journalist’s work, often used to showcase their writing and reporting skills to potential employers. For example, “Building a strong portfolio is important when breaking into journalism.”

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[00:26:12] These terms are part of the journalistic lingo, and understanding them is a step towards understanding the world of journalism better.

[00:26:20] We’re nearing the end of our episode, folks. When we return, we’ll wrap things up with our conclusion and a teaser for our next episode. Stick around!

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[00:26:33] Alright, folks, as we come to the end of this episode, let’s recap some of the key points we’ve discussed. We delved into the exciting world of journalism, exploring its importance in our society, the role of journalists, and the different types we encounter, be it print, broadcast, or digital.

[00:26:49] We discussed the journey into this field, the required skills and qualifications, and the importance of building a strong portfolio and networking. We also touched on the challenges journalists face, like fake news and ethical dilemmas, but also the rewarding aspects, such as the impact on society and the personal satisfaction it offers.

[00:27:07] We reviewed the traits suited for journalism like curiosity, resilience, and strong communication skills. And we delved into the lifestyle and potential growth in this career.

[00:27:18] Finally, we looked into the lingo of journalism, clarifying terms and phrases common in this field.

[00:27:23] Remember, the field of journalism is wide, and it can be as rewarding as it is challenging. If you’re considering a career in journalism, my advice is to immerse yourself in the field, read widely, start writing, and never stop being curious.

[00:27:37] And that wraps up our episode on the Journey of a Journalist. I hope it has given you some career insights and maybe even inspired some of you to explore this path further.

[00:27:47] Next time in our Career Insights series, we will be diving into a high-demand field that is transforming industries around the world – Data Science. We’ll explore what it takes to become a data scientist, the skills required, and the education paths you can follow. So, don’t miss it!

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[00:28:02] Remember to share, rate, and review our podcast, and as always, I’m your host Danny, thanking you for spending your time with us here at English Plus Podcast. Stay curious, stay inspired, and keep learning.

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