What You Need to Say
Your cover letter should do a few things. It should quickly introduce who you are, lay out your qualifications and express why you’re the best person for the job. Since there are myriad ways to do this, you need to try to make your cover letter snappy yet professional. If your cover letter is too dry, a potential employer might skip right over it. While you don’t want to be too loose in your style -- this is a letter for a future boss, not a friend -- be careful to avoid obvious sentences and clichés. Try, as best you can, to invest your cover letter with some of your personality.
How You Need to Say It
While you can find sample cover letters on the Web, don't simply download one and rework it. The media business is full of people with strong writing skills who think creatively, so you need to show that you have a flair for out-of-the-box thinking in your cover letter. Avoid boring introductory lines that simply restate the job position. In other words, don’t go with this: My name is X and I wanted to contact you about Y position. Instead try to open by expressing your interest in the position and saying why it caught your eye.
Your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page and, since many cover letters are sent via email, it's a good idea to keep yours to a few paragraphs. (Three or four is generally a good number to shoot for.) The reason for this is that hiring managers don’t want to open an email -- or an envelope -- and find a novel about why you’re the right person for the job. They have a lot of resumes and cover letters to go through, so they need to be able to quickly scan yours to get the gist of who you are and why they should hire you.
Copy Edit Your Work
Sending out a cover letter or resume with grammatical mistakes or typos is bad in any field, but it’s the kiss of death in the media biz. Again, you’re sending cover letters to editors and writers and journalists, people who make a living working with language. Therefore it’s essential you don’t have any mistakes in your cover letter. It’s a good idea to have someone with a keen eye for grammar check your work.