The Nature of a Journalist
The Nature of a Journalist
A journalist, or a reporter, is a person who reports for the media. The job is varied and interesting, and involves a lot of hard work. Dead¬lines must be met so the ability to thrive under pressure is essential. Reporters should be adaptable. They cover stories from armed robber¬ies and unexplained deaths to local fetes and golden wedding celebra¬tions. Information is collected by telephone or personal interviews. Having a skill in shorthand is an advantage. Once adequate information is collected, the reporters then key in the story into a computer. Another skill needed is how to make the story interesting, to grab the reader's attention early on, and to appeal to a variety of people.
Besides working as a journalist, another possibility to work in jour¬nalism is being a correspondent. Any person who has an expertise in a specific field, such as fashion, arts, sports, etc., can be a correspon¬dent. As a correspondent, the person gets an assignment from the media, but he/she doesn't work full time for that news publication.
The Qualities Needed
Besides the ability to write attention-grabbing news, to be a good journalist a person needs to have intellect, diligence, and certain skills. The skills to work in this field can be obtained from a special education or training program for journalism, such as Mass Communications, Acad¬emy of Journalism, or from short courses in journalism given by various organizations.
To be able to succeed in journalism, the personality traits needed are:
• Confidence. A person has to be confident in presenting a report. The information obtained should be adequate and reliable; in this case, the ability to find reliable sources and information is essential.
• Resilience. A person should not give up easily in facing challenges. The challenges may be in finding and interviewing resource persons, waiting for hours for them to be interviewed, or even in being rejected by the media. For this, the next trait is needed.
• Determination. Determination is needed to obtain adequate infor¬mation. Being determined includes being patient and adaptable with the environment he or she is in, so the person should be able to com¬municate with any kind of resource persons and understand what they mean, because sometimes a resource person has difficulties in express¬ing what he or she has in mind.
• Commitment. A person should also be committed to presenting a report that is not only on time, but also non-biased. A journalist should treat all people as equally important, re¬gardless of race, religion, gender, social and economic background. Equipped with this aspect, a journalist should be meticulous and demo¬cratic in choosing the words in a report.
The Career Path
A person usually starts his or her journal¬istic career from being an apprentice in the media. The length of time of apprenticeship depends on the policy of the media. By the end of that time, if it is agreed by both parties—the apprentice and the media—the apprentice can be hired as a reporter. Sometimes this new reporter has to go through another process of training or course, but then again, it depends on the media policy. Journalists with a particular interest may wish to specialize, e.g. in fashion or sports. After this, the next step is becoming an editor. An editor de-cides how stories fit into the media, which articles are more im¬portant than others, and how the headlines should be worded. The editor also gives assignments to reporters. The positions after that are Managing Editor, and Editor-in-Chief.
So, interesting enough for you, guys? Do you have any idea of what to do while you're all still in school? Use your time both in and out of school or college wisely!
To be a good journalist, it is essential that you really want to do the job. The gift of the gab is very useful for a reporter though it is even more vital to be able to listen carefully to people. The variety is the best part - every day is different, and you never know what’s gona happen! Nicola Taylor, Education Reporter, Essex Chronicle Series
Did You Know?
1. February 9 is Indonesia’s Press Day.
2. The word 'journalist' is derived from the Latin words: ACTA, which later is translated to 'action' and DIURNA, which is translated to 'daily’. The activity of writing about daily actions stared about 2000 years ago, when the Roman Empire took up the routine of making its announcements in Forum Romanum. The things that were published by this media were about the coronation of the crown prince, weddings, births, demises, and news from the Senate and whatever happened in the Empire.
3. The word 'reporter' is taken from the 15th century bureaucracy. The European bureaucracy was then the model of how a person worked and made reports. The reports were always short, clear, accurate and objective. The way the reports were written was usually artistic and neat. This kind of reporting, such as was done by the bureaucrats, was then imitated by journalists.