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Who is a journalist? What do they do?

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Radio, newspapers, magazines, etc, there are specialized tasks for journalists. Depending on the size of an organization, a journalist may work one or many of these tasks:

Reporters -

are directly involved in the gathering of information. They conduct interviews, find sources, and pull together all the information needed to write a well-rounded news story. Reporters also present the information in a written or spoken form in news stories, documentaries, or feature articles. General reporters cover all kinds of news stories, but some may specialize in certain areas such as sports, politics, or lifestyle. Some reporters may work on staff for large news organizations, or as freelance writers, writing stories for whomever is paying them.

Sub-editors -

take stories written by reporters and put them into a form that suits the special needs of their particular newspaper, magazine, or website. Sub-editors do not gather the information themselves but rather they concentrate on how existing stories can be better tailored to match a specific audience.

Photojournalists -

use photography as a way of reporting the news. They may cover events with a reporter, taking photographs to represent a written story or attend news events on their own, doing both jobs. A photojournalist must carry photographic equipment with them, and must make decisions instantly in order to capture important events at the time they take place. At times, they may be exposed to physical danger, crowds, or harsh weather.

The editor -

is in charge of deciding what goes in a newspaper, magazine, or news bulletin. He or she is responsible for the content that is to be written by the journalists and makes all final decisions.

The news editor -

is the person in charge of all news journalists. They make all the decisions about what stories to cover and who will do the work. In large news organizations, the news editor may have a deputy, often referred to as the chief of staff, whose job is to assign reporters to selected stories.

Feature writers -

write longer stories, which give more background to a news story. This type of writing involves a lot more in-depth research to give readers a lengthy and informative article.

What is the workplace of a Journalist like?

Depending on the type of article being written, a journalist works anywhere they need to in order to produce the story. The workplace may vary, whether it's attending functions and big events or knocking on people's doors. Writing the article after all the information is gathered may be done in a hotel room, a coffee shop, an office or from home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a Journalist?

A four year- Bachelor’s Degree is the typical education track followed by the majority of aspiring journalists. As journalists progress in their profession, some choose to complete further studies. The level of graduate degree selected generally depends on their specific career objective and/or position. To earn a Master’s in journalism takes an additional one to two years. Ph.D. programs in journalism usually last five years.

Should I become a Journalist?

It has been said that journalism is the backbone of the media industry and is critical to a high functioning society. It follows, then, that journalists must have a passion for truth, honesty, and integrity. And they must have the guts to go out and get the story.

Of course, there is much more to the role. Anyone planning to enter the field needs to understand the skills it calls for and the demands that it makes.

People who have successful careers in journalism tend to have a few things in common

· They are well-read. They are interested in current events and developments.

· They have a knack for thinking of or recognizing interesting stories.

· They have good instincts. They read people well.

· They love meeting people. They maintain strong interpersonal relationships.

· They have inquiring minds. They love asking questions. They love ‘digging.’

· They maintain a healthy degree of skepticism.

· They are brave enough to report the unbiased truth.

· They have thick skin. They can take criticism.

· They are critical thinkers who can access, synthesize, and retain factual information logically and systematically.

· They are motivated and persistent in their efforts to get the best available or obtainable version of the truth, and then to verify those facts.

· They are effective communicators who have an intuitive understanding of storytelling and the non-fiction narrative devices that create drama, tension, and suspense.

· They are adept at working with evolving technologies, databases, and social media that are the modern tools of journalism.

· They give up the notion of a regular workweek. They embrace the pace of their work, are cool under pressure, and ‘go’ when and where the story calls.

What are Journalists like?

Based on our pool of users, journalists tend to be predominately artistic people. Their next two strongest archetypes are investigative and social. The combination of these three characteristics describes – not coincidentally – the quintessential journalist: an individual who has a natural creative skill, who is intensively inquisitive, and who is willing to talk and engage with other people.

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