Who tells you about the number of COVID-19 cases in the country? Where did you find out about Sushant Singh Rajput’s family filing a case about his
Who tells you about the number of COVID-19 cases in the country?
Where did you find out about Sushant Singh Rajput’s family filing a case about his death?
How do you know that the Amazon forests are like the lungs of the earth?
The news allows you to be abreast with the details of global happenings. Your knowledge and opinions about any incidents in the country are influenced by what you read or watch about it. As a journalist, you can influence the whole world’s perception of anything with the news you report as well as the tone used. That is the power of journalism.
In India, the free press plays an even bigger role. Media is considered to be the fourth pillar of democracy alongside the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Faceless corporations and individuals fear the media wrath if they break rules, try to harm society or make illegal profits, thereby making media an invisible counter-balance to strong, established forces.
But what happens when the media misuses its power?
Where does the future of a country lie when the media chooses sensationalism over authenticity?
How does one differentiate between real news and channel agenda?
These are pertinent questions we need to ask ourselves as we consume news every day and give power to the channels. From the increasing TRPs to social media conversations, news channel hosts can quickly understand what sells and what doesn’t. Should that change the way they report the news? That is the discussion for today.
As a student, if you are planning on pursuing journalism, it is critical to understand what the profession entails. While it is a bold move to be a journalist, it is also a risky one. It is like walking a tight rope. While it is very thrilling, it requires immense skill, commitment and fearlessness.
What are some qualities of a good journalist that can help you stand out from the clutter? Let’s find out!
WHAT MAKES A GOOD JOURNALIST?
1. Communication Skills
Quite obvious, isn’t it? Having a way with words is almost a given for any reporter. Depending on whether you want to be a print journalist or a broadcast journalist, you will focus on writing or speaking. However, it helps to be good at both in order to have a conversation, make notes, and report news.
What is often forgotten in communication skills is listening. It is equally important to listen as it is to speak. Your surroundings will speak to you, people will confide in you if you listen carefully.
2. Discipline and Persistence
Not all stories will come to you easily. Sometimes, you will have to chase a lead for many months to be able to find the root of what you want to report. Journalism is no cakewalk and like every other profession, having discipline and perseverance will take you a long way. Simple things like being punctual, following up until you close the loop, etc., will make you stand out.
3. Knowledge and Confidence
Being able to report the latest happenings requires you to be aware of what has been going on. Only when you are knowledgeable about what transpired in the past can you draw parallels, connect dots and report authentic news to your readers/viewers/listeners.
Confidence is much appreciated in most industries as it showcases your trust in your own work. Many people will walk over you and take credit for your work if you do not stand up for yourself. While it is necessary to be able to take criticism constructively, it is also important to be confident of your efforts.
This is one of those skills of a good journalist that is not discussed enough. It is easy to get drunk on your own success in journalism, which leads reporters to take illegal and unethical routes. TRPs, fame and money should never be the driving factors of your work. Authentic news gathered from accurate, credible and honest sources needs to reach the people, and it is your responsibility to ensure that.
5. Analytical and Investigative Skills
Critical thinking, thorough investigation and sound judgement are qualities and responsibilities of any good journalist. Personal life and emotions should never affect the way a story is told. Before drafting news stories, every journalist needs to make sure that the sources are verified and that the story is written from a neutral point of view.
Apart from these skills, the changing times demand more every day. Journalists need to have some amount of technical knowledge to use digital media, interpersonal skills and much more.
What doesn’t change is that media and journalism continue to be an indispensable part of society. Citizens depend on them to be their voices, their surrogates in holding the governing bodies accountable for their actions. Journalists can curb the abuse of power by reporting authentically and encouraging transparency.
There is no dearth of powerful journalists in India who stand out with their fearless and honest voices. Tell us the name of your favourite journalists in the comments below.