Being a journalist is exciting, challenging, arduous, and entertaining.
There is never a dull moment, and as a journalist you hold up a mirror to society. Everything good, bad, and ugly is reported upon, and the job satisfaction you get from serving society, and righting wrongs, and the thrill you get from chasing leads and tracking sources is one of a kind.
If this kind of lifestyle seems interesting to you, then you are on the right path. Before you rush off to Google “mass communication courses in India” or ask around about the best journalism courses, there are other things you need to work on as well, if you really want to make it big as a journalist.
Education of course, is most important, so don’t neglect your search for mass communication courses either, but bear in mind that it takes more than a bachelor in journalism tag for an individual to become a well-rounded journalist.
This has never been truer than in today’s internet-driven society. As Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism who runs journalism courses in India explains, “Today, multimedia journalism has blurred the lines and changed the rules of the traditional pillars of the fourth estate. Gone are the days when you had to wait for your friendly neighbourhood paperwala to finish his daily distribution run, or the six o’clock news on the radio or prime time news hours to tell you what happened earlier in the day. With the internet, news assimilation and distribution is instantaneous. There’s something available for every audience out there, and in the format of their choice. Videos, text, pictures and online radio – news is dished out in every possible manner across websites and social media – beamed straight to the smart devices and computers across the globe.”
So what are the five salient attributes a modern day journalist must have to become a success?
The strongest attribute any journalist can (and must) have is curiosity – the ability to question the status quo and dig deep for answers. A journalist needs to look beyond the surface and critically evaluate every piece of information he or she gets. You cannot succeed in the journalism world unless you have a never-ending thirst for truth, because that is what journalism is about – finding truths and sharing them with society.
- A flair for the language
Whether you are looking to become a mainstream journalist or a regional one, whether you plan on entering broadcast, print or web, you need to have a flair for the language. Good communication skills are a must have for all you future scribes. After all, as a journalist, your words are your weapon, and you have wield this weapon with mastery and proficiency. All great journalists can turn even the most mundane topic into an interesting one, and present even the most complicated subjects in an easy to understand format, and all this stems from their superior language skills.
- Networking skills
A journalist’s source is his or her gravy train. You can’t be successful unless you learn how to cultivate contacts, develop sources, and persuade people to talk to you. The only way to do all of that is through elevated people skills. The ability to befriend strangers, win the confidence of reluctant or hesitant sources, and maintain contacts within important enterprises that you are covering is imperative if you want to succeed in the world of journalism.
This one doesn’t need much explanation. A journalist who doesn’t stand up for what is right in the face of pressure, power, authority, and temptation is one that will never have a meaningful contribution to his or her work and to society.
A journalist is always on a deadline. Filing stories, reaching edit meets, and keeping appointments with sources and contacts all rely on the journalists’ ability to stay punctual. Since the future livelihood of budding journalists depends upon rushing to meet deadlines, punctuality is an asset that you should start cultivating now. A story filed late is a story lost, and especially with the race to get news out first online, any delay can prove very costly.