Journalism 101

26 Oct

Contrary to what some people may think, being a good journalist take a lot more than just being a good writer. There is a whole “smorgasbord” of qualities, skills and techniques out there to master to be considered a decent journalist.

Of course, writing skills are probably the most important thing. Writing is to a journalist as water is to a shower. You just can’t have one without the other. According to some information I gathered from a journalism-focused WordPress blog, a good portion of a journalist’s job is to conduct interviews with people. This requires a journalist not only to be personable, but also to know how to conduct a successful interview.

Journalists need to be ambitious, determined and even a little nosy. As stated by Journalists Network, research skills are key. It’s your job to delve into topics, to get to the heart and soul of everything you cover, and then to plaster it all over newspapers, blogs and TV in order to get it across to your audience.

Now you might be thinking that all this plastering of the news sounds relatively easy, but there’s definitely more to it. You have to know how to make ethical decisions as well. You can’t just say what you want to say because you have to display couth and respect for others. If people get the sense that you are not respectful and professional, they will read someone else.

Also, one major thing I’ve learned from my mass communications professors at the University of South Florida is that it is very important for journalists to be concise. Journalists need to know how to cut the fat from their writing and get right to the point

By the same token, managing you’re your time is also important. Journalists work on deadline. So keep your eyes on the calendar and the clock. Don’t take too long to write a story that another journalist could possibly write faster and better.

Also, don’t forget that journalists always have to be accountable for their actions. Stand by what you write and own up to any and all mistakes.

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