Just as a mouse shouldn’t try to be an elephant, one mustn’t pick a career that may not be the best for him/her. Here are a few pointers that will help you decide if indeed you are fit for becoming a journalist.
Wondering if becoming a Journalist is the right choice for you? Evaluate by answering the following questions:
Are you curious?
Well, we’ve all heard of the common catchphrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’, but curiosity is an important trait that is a must-possess for any journalist. After you’ve read a story, do you often Google to know more about what happened or how different publications covered the same story from different angles? If yes, you’ve got this trait down pat! In the words of Sneha Jaiswal, senior correspondent at Times Network, “Always keep your ears open”. Becoming a journalist would mean bringing this quality of yours to the fore.
Are you a people’s person?
As you’re probably aware, journalism entails interacting with people from different walks of like. If you are outgoing by nature, then you’re a perfect fit for journalism. So, if you are shy or introverted, then you’re going to find it difficult to get accustomed to talking to someone new every day. However, a variety of introverts have done well for themselves in this profession and you too can be one of them if you’re willing to be perseverant.
Are you open minded?
A person with a high level of openness enjoys trying new things as they are imaginative and curious by nature. A journalist would have to be broad-minded enough to analyse an issue from various perspectives while keeping his/her own biases aside if he wants to be fair and just while reporting a story.
Does your imagination often run wild?
What’s the use of finding a story and writing an article if no one’s going to read it? A journalist needs to know how to captivate his reader-base and keep them coming back for more. However, while you’re at it, you need to keep your imagination in check. A journalist needs to channel his imagination and tie it with facts for his stories to be credible.
Are you honest?
Every journalist needs to have a strong sense of integrity. To be fit for journalism, journalists need to report facts with honesty and not twist a story to suit their own personal or their publication’s needs. In an age where grabbing eyeballs has become more important than reporting facts, journalists need to stick to their guns no matter how many figurative bullets are fired in their direction.
Do the above-mentioned traits align with your personality? If yes, you’ve chosen the right field! Now that you’ve determined that your personality fits the demands of journalism, let’s take a look at the interests!
- Every bone in your body needs to be curious
- An excellent command over English isn’t an absolute must, but you need to love writing
- Staying updated with the latest happenings not only in India, but around the world is necessary
- You should enjoy talking to someone new everyday
Now that we’ve covered interests, let’s take a look at the skills you will need to thrive in journalism-
1. Create audio and video stories –
Internet journalism is the future.Learn audio and video creation skills. This way, you won’t have to rely on someone else to take an important story live.
2. Create copy without errors –
Your reporting skills will only do you so much good if you cannot create copy that your editor can understand and edit. Your credibility as a journalist depends on the messages you deliver to your audience. Without clarity, you’ll lose your message in translation.
3. Practice SEO-
You might write the most riveting articles, but what’s the use if they don’t show up in search? Search Engine Optimization increases your chance of ranking higher in searches. A journalism course might not have taught you SEO, but it is an essential skill you’ll need in the modern newsroom.
4. Interpret statistics –
Statistics add credibility to your articles. There is a ton of data available on the internet, but you need to know where to look and how to segregate relevant data from irrelevant data. Interpreting statistics is an essential skill for modern journalists.
5. Gain and maintain contacts –
Becoming a journalist would mean adopting a career where contacts bring in your means of business, you need to have strong contact base. Without a solid network that will regularly feed you with information, it is impossible for a journalist to survive and get the intelligence he/she needs. Learning to mingle and begin lasting relationships is paramount for an ambitious journalist.
6. Ability to interview people –
Becoming a journalist, your work does not only entail covering events and news that you can see first-hand but also pulling out information from people about people, which can make for a good copy. Getting gossip, their incidents, memories, anecdotes, recounts among other details is an art in itself.
These skills are essential for jobs of today and the future. With these skills you can create dynamic articles that the audience will consume.
Since you’re here, take a look at Future of Journalism