Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it. – Horace Greeley
Journalists have been often labeled “members of mass media” (politely), “scum of the earth” (angrily), and even “purveyor of truths” (in rare moments of victory). The truth lies somewhere in between.
Journalists investigate, analyze, and report local as well as national and international events, trends, current affairs, opinions, etc. For this, they obviously need to have a flair for writing, but also should be perceptive, keen, good communicators, discipline to adhere to deadlines, as well as a habit of reading, and the ability to cohesively present one’s thoughts.
Career Lines of a Journalist
- Copy Editor
- Photojournalist, etc.
It can further be sub-divided into two major sections: print and electronic. As the name suggests, everything that is printed comes under print media, which includes newspapers, magazines, journals, tabloids, dailies and books.
On the other hand, electronic media includes content on television, radio, and the internet. Technology has significantly influenced journalism – today the mobile and computer are the main devices to consume content, and journalists have had to adapt accordingly.
Various Types of Journalism
- Community Journalism,
- Crime Journalism,
- Page 3 Journalism,
- Civic Journalism,
- Political Journalism,
- Investigative Journalism.
Tehelka is one of the most important players in investigative journalism, and they are the main reason citizens like Jessica Lall got justice. Barkha Dutt, similarly, made her name covering the Kargil War, and was one of the popular war correspondents of her day.
As Helen Thomas had once said, “We don’t go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.”
Eligibility Criteria to Become a Journalist
+2: No restrictions. Students from either stream (Science, Commerce, Arts) are eligible.
Bachelor’s Degree: The typical route to journalist is a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication or Mass Media or Journalism.
Master’s Degree: It’s a very competitive field, so a lot of people follow it up with Master’s in Journalism or Mass Communication.
This is not an easy career. Impossible deadlines, long hours, frequent travel are a part of the job.
This is not an easy career, but if you’re successful at it, it is worth all the hard work and the pain. The return is also not very high.
While people like Arnab Goswami (salary ~1 cr a month) and Rajdeep Sardesai (Rs. 85 lakhs a month) make it look easy, the truth is this kind of success comes after years of back-breaking labour.
It is also heavily influenced by luck. One good story falls in your lap, and you have a career set. But what if you don’t get that kind of a break?
With falling newspaper and magazine circulations thanks to the internet permeation, a lot of journalists are being laid off, and not finding good work.
A Day in the Life of A Journalist
6:00 AM: As a reporter, I work hellish hours. Which is why a 4:00 AM alarm is almost common. I work for a national news network, and today I have an important one-on-one with a very important politician.
Reporters are generally in the midst of the action, and deliver news straight from the field. Depending on the kind of news, this might entail going out into various communities to interview sources on camera, or even cover war zones or conflict areas.
Some reporters also conduct “man on the street” interviews where they stop passersby for their opinions.
7:00 AM: Grab a quick breakfast (thanks mum!) and get in the cab. On the way there, I take out the time to go through my notes, and rehearse the questions.
8:00 AM: The politician is surprisingly on time. He works in the Finance Ministry, and this is about the upcoming budget. We sit in his office for a comprehensive discussion.
11:00 AM: The interview ends. Thank God, I thought it was going to drag on and on. I should now run back to the office to formulate a final version to be published in tomorrow’s morning paper.
1:00 PM: Grab lunch, and take the break to stretch a little. God, I should really start thinking about gym. There’s a message from my editor with a link to a breaking news and a note about doing a feature story on it next week. I snooze it for later and go through the rest of my emails.
3:00 PM: I sit down and finish formulating the special feature with the politician’s interview. I already have a sense of how the final output should look like, as well as what keywords to use to keep the reader’s attention. Hopefully it should not take too long.
5:30 PM: There, done! Hit send! It reaches the editor’s inbox, and I hope there will not be a lot of rework. This is a byline I should be proud of.
6:00 PM: I check my calendar for tomorrow’s schedule. Oh no, a conference to cover, as well as a media function to attend. My editor has also asked me to squeeze in a small social feature. I look at my clock, sigh, and wish for a chocolate.
8:00 PM: The social feature dragged on till 8. I book a cab, and plan on preparing my notes for tomorrow’s event on my way over. My BFF from college wants to get together for drinks.
I regretfully say no. And start wondering…what if I had the chance of doing it all over again…I wouldn’t change a thing. I love what I do for a living. That’s the worst part!
Do you want to pursue a career in journalism? Did you find this profession fascinating? We hope this article proved to be a fruitful one for you. Have your say in the comment box below! Enjoy Reading!