The press serves a basic yet tremendously distinguished function in society. It is the roof over the pillars of democracy. These pillars – justice, equality, freedom, and representation must be safeguarded in order to protect the interests of those they serve- the people at large.
Journalists make up this collection that safeguards the spirit of these ideals. When you choose journalism as a career, you are taking a step to become a privileged gatekeeper of information, filtering what is true from lies that can dirty the water of truth.
The job of a journalist can be very thrilling. No matter what field you are assigned to write about, there will be opportunities to meet people and try things you haven’t before; your life will never be boring. All said and done, this is not for everyone.
Newsgathering happens on many different levels. Having a nose for the news is helpful but you must also be able to approach people for information that will take you a long way. A hunch will only get you as far as the doorstep of someone you suspect is part of the story but creating and cultivating a source is an art in and of itself.
Have a Voice
That being said, journalism isn’t solely about chasing down a lead before it goes cold or going undercover as part of a thrilling investigative piece. Success first lies in figuring out where you believe you will make the most impact. Aspirants will need to establish a style and find a specialization that best speaks to your interests.
There are broadcast journalists whose voice we always hear but the terse voice of a political commentator in print or the snarky voice of a fashion critic online can be just as significant.
Are You a Wordsmith?
You may roll your eyes at the cliché, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ but the saying rings true even today as it did with the advent of the printing press. Like a blacksmith that crafts the perfect weapon, so too can a wordsmith craft the perfect piece of reporting, one that cuts right down to the facts. You must have a love for words and crafting airtight arguments that leave a reader beyond any point of doubt.
Journalism the Craft
The underlying skills required of every journalist are the big three- reporting, writing, and editing.
Journalism courses will help you build a strong foundation in these areas thereby giving you the strong footing upon which you can build a solid career.
Yes, you must love to write and you must be willing and able to write about anything. Journalists are tasked with reporting clearly what they learn from a multitude of sources, some verifiable and others slightly or completely dubious. Being able to present apparently meaningless facts without being deceitful and doing so succinctly is the mark of a true blue journalist.
A love for writing and your ability to report on your findings are two of the three skills for a strong foundation But what will set you apart from your peers is an editorial sensibility. An ability to go beyond the reporting and find patterns that lead to a bigger picture is how one gets the scoop so to speak.
Transformational Skills of Journalism
Transformational skills such as product development and knowing how to market the news and who to market it to via new and interesting available media are also valuable to potential employers.
News agencies are still learning how to become part of the online media in a way that ensures their longevity in the market. There has been a rise in data journalism – a field that focuses on finding the story amongst the vast informational flow of data that is available.
You don’t have to be Tintin to find the truth. A large number of coders and web developers have gravitated to newsrooms because their programming skills can gather and combine information from different data streams to bring a whole new meaning to newsgathering.
Perhaps the most important tenet of the fourth estate is Integrity with a capital ‘I’. This is because the role of a journalist is an extremely important one, whether you are a political reporter, law reviewer or on the fashion beat.
A journalist bears the privilege as well as the burden of being a conduit of history. They shape the conversation around important events and document the ebb and flow of culture. This they must do with accuracy and fairness since much of what they contribute to the public sphere ends up becoming what the public holds as the truth.
Why a Degree?
What enshrines news media is a tacit promise between institutions and the public. While it may be true that anyone can publish a piece of work online, a degree in journalism is what will give you a competitive and unbeatable edge. Seamedu journalism courses are among the best journalism courses in India.
They will help you hone in your writing skills, guide you through the intricacies of ethical questions, understand the protections afforded to journalists by virtue of the station you represent, and finally help you perfect the tradecraft of news gathering and dissemination.