Lesson 1: Learn to like coffee and tea. This was said by my friend Nandita Raman in one of her posts. I would like to rephrase it quite differently. You must learn to like the liquid that they pass of as coffee/tea. While tea becomes 10x sweeter, coffee on the other hand metamorphosizes into a muddy, dirty concoction that can turn poisonous if you don't drink it immediately.
Lesson 2: Always, always, ALWAYS carry a notebook (notepad, paper etc) and a writing instrument. Make sure it writes though. You obviously don't want to be borrowing it from the person you are meeting and thus embarrassing yourself in the process (these things happen, yes)
Lesson 3: Do your research. Even if it involves Facebooking the person or searching through his Linkedin profile to unearth depths of unwanted information. In other words, stalk. Yes, I mean it in a good way.
(P.S. Questions on 'What do I do if his/her FB profile is blocked' will not be entertained here. Wait for a separate FAQ page on that one).
Lesson 4: (a) Have quite a good appetite. By good of course I mean BIG. 'Cause as a journo you're entitled to attend events at 5 star hotels and eat the free food they pass out. The average is about 2 events/week, if not more.
(b) Also brag about how you get to attend these cool events (mention the food of course!) till the people listening drool their saliva away and beg you to please take them. Promise that you will. Later if you don't (which will most probably happen) always use the I-don't-think-my-editor-will-approve reason, or the It-won't-look-professional one. Or the quintessential Oh-I-totally-forgot. Works every time!
Lesson 5: (a) Keep Google open. Whether you use it or not, is secondary. Always pays to have it open, you can check for sources if not for anything else. If all fails please open any one of those networking sites and network!
(b) Side-la keep your newspaper/magazine's site also open. When editor/colleague passes by swiftly but deftly open the news site. This doesn't require much practice.
Lesson 6: Post important links on important happenings in the world, whether you find it important or not. Comment something on it. Preferably something intellectual.
This post reflects the author's personal views and does not mean to harm or hurt any single person. If you find it offensive, just quit reading it, seriously.
If you have any comments or suggestions or any more points to add feel free to write in to me at firstname.lastname@example.org