JOURNALISM AS A PROFESSION

woodward and bernstein
woodward and bernstein

JOURNALISM AS A PROFESSION

If you can smell news where others hardly suspect it, if you can write even under very strict deadlines, if you are willing to work24#7; well….you are certainly cut out to be a journalist. Journalism is a very exacting profession. It demands total commitment. But what are the avenues open to you?

You can be Reporter, covering the entire gamut of life, from accidents to zoological parks. To be a reporter you need drive and determination. The press reporter’s job can at times be taxing but never boring. You brush shoulders with celebrities and criminals and build an enviable network of acquaintances. And that’s not all, you have a chance to specialize if you want, in areas like legal reporting, business reporting, science reporting, etc.

You can be a Sub Editor, if you have the incisive eye of an eagle that can detect syntax errors, coin arresting headlines and work at odd hours of the day. Of course you may hardly see the outside world like the reporter, but you will derive immense pleasure when you read the copy you had corrected come out in print.

You can hope to be a News Editor, if your work as a reporter has been impressive, and may be even Editor if you are a real achiever.

Broadcast media demands something more. If you have a good screen presence and voice modulation, well you can very well be in front of the camera. Mind you, behind the glamour is the grind, it is certainly not a bed or roses. Let us also not overlook the other electronic media, the radio. Radio jockeys who can incessantly and enthusiastically talk without of course boring the listener are always in demand

If you feel you are adept in persuading people, both using oral and written words, well may be you are cut out for Public Relations, people who are sometimes derisively called spin doctors. They usually represent corporations big and small, or may be even the Government and Non-Profit Organizations. They go by different designations, but they all do the same job – molding public opinion in favor of the organization.

If you feel you are happy coining captions and slogans, writing brochures and similar work, may be advertising is your life’s calling. People who are called the ‘hidden persuaders’ and who are wordsmiths by inclination.

To those with some technical exposure, who can demystify the esoteric jargons of science can specialize in technical writing, who are greatly needed not only in the software industry, but also in the manufacturing sector.

If you are comfortable using the net, and know the intricacies of the web then probably you can be a content provider for blogs and web sites. Journalism is one field where the opportunities are wide and inviting.

In all these callings as language is the main tool used, a good grounding in English or any other language is essential. It is not necessary to be a Bachelor of Arts in English, but you must be proficient in the use of words. With specialization being the order of the day, those with economics and science background can hope to be a business or science reporter. In any case a diploma in journalism would be an added advantage.

A typical course in journalism would focus on the following:

  1. Reporting
  2. Editing
  3. Mass communication
  4. Writing practice
  5. New media
  6. Media laws & ethics
  7. Field work and lab journals

Journalism is a tough profession and some times dangerous too. Remember Daniel Pearl? It may not be as lucrative as business management, law or medicine. But the satisfaction derived from work,amply compensate for the loss in revenue.

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