In journalism school, my main focus was on making good grades and graduating with a good class. But then I realized, what’s the use of all that without having an idea of some basic things when starting a career in journalism.
As much as I would like to, I’m not going to spill my whole story here yet, among a number of summit I attended, I got the opportunity to speak with a couple of industry players who informed me on the job field. They had so much to say but little time to spare so I could only embrace the brief information I got. I was still not contented with what I knew, until I interned at the Ghana News Agency, then I discovered there was more to it.
From my experience, there are a few things you should know before starting a career in journalism. Below is a list of things to consider if you want to land your dream job in journalism.
• Do your homework: The purpose of this isn’t because Journalism isn’t fun, it’s a fan-holy-tastic profession, but the issue is that journalism is quite broad and the job field requires a lot. With the modern technological trends, the duties of journalists in diverse fields have taken a swift turn. So you need to research on the fields of journalism and side on a particular area which you find appealing. In journalism we have:
Print Journalism, which is usually on writing for newspapers or magazines. You could even be a reporter for such media houses.
Photojournalism, this is quite different traditional photographers in that they are more interested in capturing images that tell a story than ones that just look nice. They are highly trained photographers.
Broadcast journalism involves both television and radio news. There are two ways that journalists can be involved in broadcast journalism: behind the scenes or on air. Journalists working behind the scenes do a lot of research and reporting, but their faces or voices will not be broadcasted .Journalists who work on air may do their own reporting or read stories crafted by their colleagues.
Multimedia journalism is the practice of contemporary journalism that distributes news content either using two or more media formats via the internet or disseminating news report via multiple media platforms.
• Be passion driven: You might be wondering if journalists are born or made, but I believe that passion provides the catalyst for doing things to the maximum. Journalism is one profession that needs a lot of commitment since media personnel serve as watch dogs in the society and are also mouth piece for the citizens and the government. Passion tends to be the driving force which enables people to do whatever stated as their job responsibilities. A wise man ones said “Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession”.
• Be a communicator: Journalism is all about providing citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies and their governments, You have to be skilled at conveying information or ideas and soliciting for opinions during your interviews.
• Be well read: The term well-read has different definitions to different people. But in this context it means knowing a lot and necessarily reading a lot. Since journalism is about the dissemination of information, you should be well abreast with ongoing and past issues. In order to fish out accurate information or be able to talk on issues based on any subject wherever you find yourself. Cultivate the habit of reading one book a week and that will aggravate into roughly fifty books in a year and two hundred and fifty in five years.
In as much as this might be relative or wouldn’t apply to some people, it’s quite useful to know these things before starting a career in Journalism.