A journalist is someone whose profession is journalism. He/she gathers, processes, uncovers and disseminate news items to a heterogeneous audience. Journalists are always abreast of major happenings and seen at event grounds- live or recorded- scooping for news. One can work at a radio station, television, print outfits and online news medium. To become a journalist, you must have zeal, interest, motivation and determination to succeed on the field.
Studying courses such as journalism, mass communication or media studies earns you a degree/college certificate upon graduation. It also allows you to learn the theoretical and practical works that are useful after graduating.
You can intern with any media station to learn more or be gainfully employed as a junior journalist with an entry position because you are a fresh graduate with no experience. Exposing one to the field comes next. You are attached to a senior journalist who will teach you how to conduct one-one or personality interviews, write interview questions, report live happenings from event grounds and write news stories following the station’s in-house style. Interviews can be a telephone interview or a physical interview. There are also observation sessions. This is when you observe what the senior journalist is doing and emulate such.
Writing news stories largely depends on the type of event you are covering be it political, economy, education, health. 5W’s &H is an important feature of any news story. This is What, Where, When, Where, Why and How. Your opening/lead paragraph is known to be the basis/preamble that nudges your audience to either listen, watch further or read more. Your opening paragraph should contain 2 or more 5Ws & H. Objectivity is the watchword of Journalism, do not take sides while writing your story.
You are your media’s eye at the event so you are expected to write in details, be brief and concise, correctly spelt names and pronunciation, Verify all data collected with reliable sources. Your source can be a person who is a first-hand eyewitness of an event. You need to respect the source’s rights. If he/she do not want to be known, you should write anonymously. Their lives or work may be at risk when you mention the source’s name or work address.
Get your facts- audio and video actualities, pinpoint facts that need further verification as this can serve as a scoop for such story, ensure to attribute all information gathered. Ensure you leave out information when you are in doubt than writing incorrect news item and misinforming the audience. This is to avoid slamming your media outfit with libel, slander or defamation.
No man is an island of knowledge. After you must have written your story, read and read again before submitting to the Editor/Senior Reporter for vetting. Final Check is important before submitting.
Being on the field as a journalist allows you to see the world from the perspective of the eyewitness especially in war-stricken zones. In cases like this, safety first.