In our previous lessons, we have gotten to know what journalism entails and the profession of journalism. In every profession, there are practitioners of the profession. In the teaching profession, there are teachers who are the professionals. In the journalism profession, there are journalists who are the professionals. In this article, we will delve deeper into who a journalist is, their qualities and finally the roles they play as a reporter, news caster/news anchor, editor and photographer.
Journalists are mostly defined by the roles they perform in their daily works and tasks. Journalists are sometimes known as the all-news-media personnel who have editorial responsibility for the preparation or transmission of news stories or other basic information units. In the previous lesson under journalism, we got to know that journalism entails the gathering, assessment, creation and presentation of news stories. Based on this, we can deduce the definition of a journalist as the professional responsible for gathering, assessing, creating and disseminating news stories and facts to the public through the various available mass media. A journalist’s solemn aim is to always alert the public and share new stories with them. There are various issues happening around us yet we do not have the ‘eyes’ to see them; it takes the expertise and experience of a journalist to discover such issues and report them to the public. A journalist does not only write and disseminate news to the public, but they also photograph as we discussed in the forms of journalism.
Daily news and updates are always expected to be coming from journalists. They are therefore relied upon to present news in a concise and objective manner without any biases or addition of emotions. A journalist goes beyond wherever it is expected of them just to cover stories and share to the public. That is why there are investigative and crime journalists who sometimes risks it all just to cover stories of public interest and benefit. Journalists sometimes go the extreme of building relationships, banging on people’s door just to get access to information and present them. That is who a journalist is and that is what differentiate them from news anchors and news presenters who are always in the studio to present news covered by the journalists. For journalists, writing a news story could be done everywhere, whether a hotel, in the house or even office. Have you ever imagined how journalists are able to produce news out of interviews? This is the reason why they are journalists, they are created to fit everywhere and perform their functions.
Journalists have different personalities. Some are artistic in nature which means they are creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate and expressive. These qualities are a must for every professional journalist. There are journalists who are also enterprising which means they are adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident and optimistic. Journalists function as the eyes and ears of newspapers or news channels.
What are the qualities of a good journalist? Can you recall the ten elements of good journalism in our previous lessons? We are now focused on the qualities of the professional in the profession.
A good journalist must have the capability to ‘smell news’. A journalist does not stay in his or her comfort zone for a news story to travel to them; they rather go out there to look for news stories and that is the smelling of news. A good journalist must also be extroverted and sociable in nature. You can be an introvert but on the field of journalism, such attitude is not applicable as journalists have to be sociable and build relationship with people in order to have them as their sources in some cases. A good journalist must be a neutral analyst. You cannot openly support party A in public; your job is to report on whatever party A is doing and not add your opinions. A good journalist must be ready to work with a team. Even the investigative journalists who have trust issues have a team and how much more a normal journalist? A good journalist must also have the ability to present thoughts in a clear manner through words. Finally, a good journalist must be someone who adhere to ethics which makes the role a professional one.
There are certain roles of journalists in the media. This article will focus on the roles of the news caster/anchor, photojournalist, the editor and feature writer.
A news caster is a person who reads news in front of a TV camera in a studio or newsroom on the field. A news reader on the TV is a news presenter whiles on the radio is a news anchor.
A photojournalist uses photos as a way of reporting news. They normally go the fields with reporters and take photos in relation with whatever the reporter covers.
The editor is in charge of deciding what goes into news or newspapers. He makes final decisions from the news gathered by the journalists. There is also a sub-editor who take stories written by reporters and puts them into a form that suits maybe their newspaper.
Finally, a feature writer is a journalist who write longer stories which ranges from 1000 words and above. These stories give more background to a news story. Basically, these are the known roles of journalists.
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