Who is a journalist?
When we speak about Journalism, we do not just mean newspapers, news channels and loud-voiced Arnab Goswami, there’s much more that goes into journalism. In simple words, Journalism is gathering news that has been proven to be truthful and distributing them to the public in limited words. Journalists travel to different locations, collect news, investigate to gather evidence to ensure whether the news is genuine or not, interview people and then present it to the public in the form of Newspaper Articles, TV news coverage etc. Journalistic media consists of newspapers, magazines, news channels, radio, internet, etc.
There are different types of Journalism like – Education journalism, political journalism, business journalism, arts journalism, celebrity journalism, sports journalism, investigative journalism etc.
Journalists have to abide by the ethics of the larger professional organisation. Many famous big media houses have their own code of ethics to guide journalists about what can be published to the general public. While various codes of ethics have minor differences but the common principles are truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability which apply to the information which is newsworthy and can be published to the general audience.
While presenting news stories, one of the challenges the journalists face is to remove personal biases and opinions and just report the news as a neutral party to the audience. In print media, or in television programs some sections are intended for an expert point of view and author’s opinions.
I want to become a Journalist, but how?
- If you are interested in journalism, you have to graduate from Higher secondary school with any stream- science, commerce or humanities from any reputable board or council. It is a necessity for the candidate to complete Higher Secondary education with English as one of his/her subjects.
- As a candidate, you must then grab a Bachelor’s degree (grab your own degree kindly, not someone else’s) in Journalism from a college. This 3-year course requires a minimum of 50 per cent marks is needed for admission to any reputable institution in India (this may vary for different colleges).
- After getting your Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, you may opt for a Masters or Diploma in Journalism in a college or university. For instance – IIMC, Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
- You must have a clean record with at least 45 percent marks in your Bachelor’s aggregate or another alternative degree for Diploma courses (1 year) and 50 percent for Masters. Many colleges also conduct entry examinations which will decide if you have been selected for the same.
Top Institutes in Journalism in India
- Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), situated in Delhi.
- Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC), Pune.
- Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi.
- Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad.
- Xavier’s Institute of Communication (XIC), Mumbai.
What skills do I need for being a Journalist?
- Communication – As a journalist, it is one’s job to communicate and connect with people on behalf of the press. Interviewing people, connecting with sources to extract information, asking uncomfortable questions are some of the major works which journalists do.
- Writing – It is one of the skillset which you must have if you aspire to become a journalist. Writing reports and articles to express and inform the news truthfully, and without any bias is one of the major job descriptions of a journalist.
- Problem solving skills – A journalist must develop an ability of finding the best solution when found in the midst of a crisis. Journalists travel anywhere in the world where they are required to be to get access to the required information in order to produce a story and present it to the general public.
- Digital Literacy- Digital technologies are the most important form of communication today and a Journalist must be adept with using various technologies like using digital cameras, operating social media etc.
- Research – Being a journalist pretty much, comes with the need to have the skills of research and being able to put them to simple articles for the public to grasp. Journalists must be well equipped with knowledge and evidence before publishing an article for the world to believe.
Are there opportunities in Journalism?
Journalism is one of the most demanded careers among aspirants. With the widespread use of the internet and increasing mass media channels online and on television, the number of viewers has increased drastically. Demand for good and talented journalists is very high in the current market and it is set to increase more in the near future. Journalism is a highly competitive field and demands a lot of time and attention from the people who pursue it. Oftentimes journalists work late hours even on holidays and have to sacrifice festivities and family time to work on their stories and there is comparatively less job security in journalism than in other fields.
Success in the journalism industry comes with experience and after the basic training in Journalism one can discover and choose which area they want to specialize in, Reporting, editing, station managers, or publishers. There are several fields in journalism as follows –
- If you are more inclined towards writing and do not want to be in front of the screen you can become an editor, cartoonist, writer, columnist, etc.
- Provided you are confident enough to voice out your opinions and have a certain flair when opposite to live media you can take up the job of a proofreader, special reporter, broadcast reporter, etc.
- Journalism is a career path where interacting with people plays a big role, it also has opportunities such as critic, researcher, interviewer, etc.
- There are several other options in journalism, for instance – Magazine journalist, web content manager, public relations officer, multimedia specialist, and the list goes on.
The salary structure of a journalist depends upon various factors like job profile, industry, experience, education etc. According to payscale.com the average yearly salary of a journalist in India is about 3,87,714 INR.
Who are the famous Journalists?
- Walter Leland Cronkite – When talking about famous journalists, one cannot go about without mentioning Walter Leland Cronkite who was once “the most trusted man in America”. He served for 19 years and reported many incidents such as the bombings in the second world war, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther, The US Space program, etc. Having been a college dropout this man is a pioneer in himself and lived up to his job title.
- Barkha Dutt – Barkha Dutt is a columnist with The Hindustan Times and Washington post. She also worked for NDTV for long 21 years before parting ways with it in 2017. Her famous reporting’s include the Kargil Conflict which brought one of the most prestigious awards her way – the Padma Shri award.
A day in the life of a Journalist.
A typical day in the life of an experienced Journalist starts early in the morning at around 8 when he/she visits the news station. After having a meeting with their team about their goals for the day, they tend to the details for selecting the front cover stories, review the work done by their juniors. News Anchors take to the camera and welcome the world with a warm smile and dose of morning news while editors get to editing the newest piece of information for it to grab the attention of the public. It often happens that totally unexpected news comes in and takes the station by the storm which is then tended by reporters going to the scene of the incident, collecting data, evidence, interview people involved and getting back to the news station where news reporters have already started addressing to the incident on live television and editors are ready with the edited version to be printed. In case their work is office-based, it ends around 6 pm in the evening when they finally call it a day.