How to become a good journalist

How to become a journalist

A journalist is any professional who provides information for public use mostly through print media like newspaper or electronic media like television, radio and the internet. Journalists include; editors, photographers, reporters, correspondents, researchers, cameramen, broadcasters and publishers.

Functions of journalists

Without journalists the world would be a very boring place to live in, people would be un-informed about their surroundings and other places as well. A journalist is primarily in the business of informing a large section of a town, city, state, country or countries. His/her duties include providing factual and accurate information for use by the general public. With that in mind, a journalist must also be objective as his duty is not to form people’s opinions for them but to inform them about people, events and places.

Classes of journalists

  • Reporters are journalists who state things as they happened. They simply record events as they occur then write or talk about them at a later time. Most reporters work with both print and electronic media as employees although some others are freelance.
  • Correspondents. They are journalists who either write or relay events as they occur. Most correspondents work with the electronic media especially television were live events can be captured in real time.
  • Photo journalists. These could be photographers or cameramen whose duties include capturing events in pictures.
  • Editors decide what report or story is newsworthy and hence decide how best to caption same.
  • Researchers are journalists who carry out special duties like features and documentaries. They investigate, analyze and make deductions on facts whether previously available or inferred from analysis. Researchers work mainly with magazine and documentary programs both in the print and electronic media.
  • Newscasters are journalists who read news on television or radio
  • Broadcasters are involved in the packaging and presentation of television and radio programs. Broadcasters include; Presenters/TV hosts, Anchors, Directors, Producers, Cameramen and sound engineers.
  • Publishers are usually the owners of their own newspaper or magazine although they are still journalists. Sometimes the publisher could be the chief editor of his/her establishment.

How to start a career as a journalist

Before venturing into journalism, there is the need to carry out a self assessment test to see if you fit the requirements spelt out for men and women who could excel in the field. Journalism requires certain qualities in its aspirants like;

  • Good communication skills especially writing skills. This is however is more applicable to the print media although the electronic media also requires both writing and speaking skills but with more emphasis on speaking skills.
  • A strong desire to share information
  • A good ability to learn from people and events quickly
  • Dogged and fearless behavior, ability to walk up to anyone and initiate a fruitful conversation
  • An eagle eye for information. Most information is not spelt out but is hidden in comments, remarks, opinions and statements. As an aspiring journalist you have to demonstrate an ability to ‘see’ information as it is being conveyed from source to destination.

Get professional training in the field. Many universities and colleges offer mass communication and other journalism relate courses. A first or second degree in this field is an advantage although not the ultimate since in most countries of the world there is free entry into the field of journalism. Just having good communication skills and a strong interest in informing people is enough to make one an entrant. However professional training in journalism is considered an advantage in the job market. Even at that one could still be a journalist without professional training but this will likely restrict you as a freelance journalist especially as a reporter if there is stiff competition in the job market.

What medium of communication do you prefer is it writing or speaking? If you prefer speaking then you should pursue a career in broadcasting. If you prefer writing, then print media is for you. To successfully take off you will have to prove to yourself first that you are qualified as a journalist. You will definitely need to make your bones as a newcomer or intern in journalism by enthusiastically undertaking assignments and ensuring that they are excellently done. This is because a meteoric rise in the field usually visits hardworking, resourceful and highly skillful individuals.

Practice amateur journalism before hand covering events with your own digital camera, mobile phone or laptop taking photos of events as they occur or writing articles and reports. Write as many articles as possible if you prefer writing and try to have them published online on blogs and websites. You could also post photos and videos online on flickr or you tube.

Offer to work for free with well established media organizations through internship or industrial training programs. The reason you are doing this is to get you acquainted with the field and also prepare you for future responsibilities and challenges. The period in which you were employed as an intern could serve as an eye opener into the real benefits, challenges and opportunities of being a journalist.

Above all remain focused and determined to overcome obstacles between you and your desire to be an accomplished journalist.

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Comments 30 comments

Amandaword profile image

Amandaword 6 years ago from Dimapur, India

:) Hello, I am a journalist for touching-10 years now and currently a senior sub-editor and columnist of a leading newspaper. You have listed on a number of interesting processes one has to pass through before actually become a "journalist." I just felt to mention here that being qualified as a journalist and becoming one are two entirely different dimensions of the actual realized context. But then the central motivation is to truly work to be close to the society and processes that regulate collective existence. This I believe is the one aspiration to actually a journalist. Helpful information for those seeking a career in journalism. Keep writing


Maahir jaamac 6 years ago

I am Somali Journalist having experience above 15-years, and i would have to thank you For this wel preparated Terms.


mahamed harun 6 years ago

Hello, I am a journalist life in s/land specially hargeisa so am tv procaster also producer really ilike to thank u this.Helpful information for those seeking a career in journalism


Mohammed Kwenah 6 years ago

Hello, I am Liberian Journalist based in Cetral Liberia.

And would need more info on ways to become a good journalist.


Barbara 6 years ago

Hello, am from Uganda and i feel i just want to be among the best journalist in my country or news reader.

Please can you give us more tips on how to become a good news reader?


Frenchiie33 profile image

Frenchiie33 6 years ago from West Midlands, England

Thanks for the help. I'm interested in becoming a journalist and you have certainly given me a lot of good information


Mpho khiba 6 years ago

Hey im very happy for the info you gave me next year i wl b doing my first year in journalism,so i wanted to know were can i fit...but now i think i know what i hve to do is to take this good ideas you giving us nd work hard on becuming a good journalis...THANKS FOR THE INFO REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DOING FOR US


HUSEN UDAIPURI 6 years ago

I am a freelancerjournalist and also sudent of Master of Journalism and mass communication and General secrtary of progressive journalist forumof Udaipur unit,Rajasthan,India.I will be thankful if will get more knowledge and experience by this site.


HARRY POTTER 5 years ago

GREAT I HAVE INFOF NOW IAM YOUNG BUT LOVE JOURNALISM WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A JOURNALIST.


mina 5 years ago

nice.....=) it is really meaningful.....


kessy 5 years ago

i want you to help me become a journalist because i love it.


anano 5 years ago

thank you so so so so much !!

i read this yesterday and today by following this everything i got excepted on the journalism course !!


Nelly1 5 years ago

I have been a journalist for six years. Thank you for the helpful information. I would say that all aspiring journalists need to do is read as widely as possible. It is also important to love your work, and ask for advice.


bernard boateng 5 years ago

I need a help,someone kindly show me the subjects to offer or to study hard so i can be come a journalist to.bernardboateng24@yahoo.com is my E-mail please.


Dyson Mthawanji ( Malawi) 5 years ago

the information is really helpful for upcoming journalist. I'm a freelance journalist and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism student at University of Malawi in the Southern Africa. What I can add is that one important thing one should possess before enroling in a Journalism college is passion. Passion and good education makes one to excel in this field. As a future journalist, you should also read widely to know manythings (athough not possible to know everything). Just because you are studying arts does not mean you should shun science related items. If you shun them then how will you manage to report about climate change, issues about cancer, nuclear power, telecommunications etc? So read everything from all directions. Read reports and journals by professionals from any field. I wish you good luck on this journey to become the best journalist in your country. (e-mail: dmthawanji@yahoo.com).


grffin awino 4 years ago

I AM FREELANCE WRITER FROM NAIROBI KENYA,YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME ,FOR SURE I STARTED OF JUST BY WRITING OPINION ARTICLES FOR THE LOCAL DAILIES AND I LATER REALIZED THAT I COULD DO IT,AT THE MOMENT I FREELANCE AND I AM NOT REGRETTING ABOVE ALL YOUR ADVICE HAS INSPIRED ME A LOT.


beth 4 years ago

hi im 12 im in year 8 and i want to become a journalist, is there any way i could start preparing myself now


Shittu mariam 4 years ago

All these information are indeed spellbinding but, is vocational journalist recognized world wide?.


flora 4 years ago

AM AN UPCOMNIG JOURNALIST..............I AM DELIGTHED


kulang Nhial Mager 4 years ago

hello am student who is doing journalism i just wanted to know more about journalism you guys are journalists working in defferent places in the world


kulang Nhial Mager 4 years ago

HELO GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS AM UPCOMING JOURNALIST AM SOUTH SUDANESE OUR COUNTRY GOT INDEPENDENCE LAST YEAR JULY 9 2011 THIS WHERE WE CAME OUT OF ARAB IN NORTHERN SUDAN NOW IN OUR COUNTRY SOUTH SUDAN THE DON,T KNOW IMPORTANCE OF JOURNALISM CAN SOMEONE HELP ME IN THIS SITUATION AND JOURNALISM IS THE CAREER ACCORDING TO ME THIS IS MA mail mmaghee2@gmail.com


JAEL 4 years ago

I AM A YEAR ONE STUDENT IN NDEJJE UNIVERSITY UGANDA, AM SO THANKFULL FOR THE TIPS ON BECOMING A GOOD JOURNALIST AND I AM VERY SURE I WILL BE USING THEM AS MY GUIDELINESS FOR MY SHAPING INTO BECOMING ONE OF THE BEST IN MY COUNTRY, THANKS


promila 4 years ago

HELLO IAM A STUDENT OF MASTER OF JOURNALISM . I AM CURRENTLY STUDYING IN FINAL YEAR. THIS INFORMATION REALLY GAVE ME LOTS OF MOTIVATION AND THE ENCOUARGING PATH TO WALK AS A RISING JOURNALIST IN THE FUTURE.


mohamed 4 years ago

really i like to be journalist in future


abhinav 4 years ago

really like to be good journalist in future because m so interested


Ater Garang Ariath 4 years ago

Hallo fellows Journalists across the globe, my name is Ater Garang Ariath, South Sudanese journalist that worked long time in print, i am enthusiatic to be journalist that want to promote, justice, peace and goverance in my country, Africa and world large.

Journalistic role have no limited journey boundary, and with that prime mental picture of journalism, i hope we emerge as the eye openers not just to ourselves but to the whole world of humanity. I worked for seven years with local newspaper without inked contract with them, but it doesn,t discourage me instead it gave me extra-ordinary aspiration to bring justice and free minded amongg our society. First prime duty as journalist need to "mental picture"yourself as successful journalist that work without conviction from oneside or other, the second is the love of your country security wide and good governance promotion, third is to act as the central or the pivot between your country and the whole world to achieve "globe village" globization of this world to be village is the third and last.

Justice must be previal in world we live.


Samuel N Gisemba 4 years ago

Hi guys!are you dreaming to change the world? I am astudent pursueing a diploma in Journalism(print and electronic)in (EAMI)Nairobi(kenya).This is my favourite career,I hope to become the best journalist in the world.If you`re interested in media join us in the boat.Together we can change the world.

samuel.gisemba@gmail.com


Alfred John 4 years ago

hi, am a Radio Operator this is helpful it will make me improve in my career of mass communication &journalism. make more send me using

my contact edwardsadaraka@yahoo.com

From Juba south Sudan, student university of Juba


Sayma Sadia 4 years ago

I am a student.I think that Journalism is a very chalenges profession. So,I want to be a Journalist.


HUSEN UDAIPURI 2 years ago

I am a media personlity,like journalism very well.& therefore I passed Bahelor of Journalism & Mass communication in 1st class. Then I joined Master of Journalism & Mass communication and passed in 1st class.Now I am busy for doing Ph.D in Journalism & Mass communication and hope to final the same.

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