Chapter 1 - What Is A Journalist?
A great many people who want to be writers say that they want to have a career in
journalism. They may envision themselves going to exotic locales to cover stories or
winning a Pulitzer prize. While these things do happen to journalists, it takes a long time
to make your bones before you are sent on any interesting assignments.
I became a journalist purely by accident. Unlike others who seek out journalism as a
career, I wanted to be a writer. I envisioned myself writing books of fiction and
entertaining the masses. My parents talked me into going to college and getting a degree
They told me that it was a good idea to have something to fall back on, in
case I couldnâ€™t make a living writing fiction for a living. Five years and 100 rejections
later, I realized they were right. Fortunately, my degree in journalism helped me support
myself so that I didnâ€™t have to go back home after I got out of school.
I had no idea what a journalist did until I got my first job at a local paper when I was still
in school. I was hired as a stringer and had to report on meetings. It was boring, but it
paid for extras. Someone said that I was a journalist and I realized that I was actually
working in a field for which I was studying.
A journalist is someone who reports on timely events. Timing is everything to a
journalist. Whether you write for a periodical or a newspaper, you need to make sure that
your articles are timely. Your purpose is to keep the public as up to date as possible when
it comes to news and events that may affect them. This is the basic concept of being a
Since I became a journalist, I have made many mistakes. Iâ€™ve broken the rules a few
times but learned lessons from each rule that I broke. It has taken me six years since I
first started getting paid for my writing as a journalist, but in that time, I have become a
good journalist. While my assignments are not exotic and I have yet to win that Pulitzer
prize, I make a decent living and do something that I really enjoy.
If you are thinking about becoming a journalist, you have to remember that the following
1. Impartiality. You should report on all sides of a story, not just take one side, even if it
appears that one side is right or wrong. A good journalist gets all sides of the story, prints
it and then lets the ready decide, based upon the article. A good journalist does not make
up the readerâ€™s mind for them.
2. Timeliness. Your stories have to be timely. You do not have a compelling story about
something that happened 20 years ago unless it can relate to what is happening now.
Journalism is in the now - the immediate present. You have to relate even historic pieces
to what is happening right now.
3. Facts. There is an old saying in journalism that still is used in the field today that
states â€œIf your mother says she loves you, check it out.â€ Check and re-check your facts.
Be sure that you double check on names and spelling as well.
If you get to know and follow these three rules, your career in journalism will be one that
is very successful. If you break the rules - donâ€™t worry. Iâ€™ve broken all of them and Iâ€™m
still standing. Just donâ€™t do it again. Some people like to learn in a trial by ordeal. I am
one of them. But if you consistently break the golden rules of journalism, your career
As a journalist, it is your job to reveal information to the public. This should be
impartial, timely and truthful. To get into the computer system of the first journalism job
that I had, the password was â€œtruth.â€ You have to write the truth of what you see and hear
and let the public form an opinion. You need to always quote sources when you are
writing a journalism piece as you should not attribute anything to your own knowledge.
Your articles should be written from a third person point of view and from the outside
As you continue in your career, you will find your voice when it comes to your writing.
Do not be surprised if your first articles are rewritten by your editor. Another rule that
you need to learn when you are starting a career as a journalist is to not fall in love with
your own work. Do not feel hurt if an editor does not like a phrase in your article, or
makes some changes. They are only doing their job. You will soon get to know the
editor and they will get to know your style of writing.
A journalist usually gets a job as a news reporter, and both news reporting and journalism
are careers that are interchangeable. While many people think of journalists as writing on
top stories or features all over the world, the education that you need to become a
newspaper reporter and to be a writer for a magazine is the same - a degree in journalism.
Anyone who writes an impartial article, be it news or feature stories, is practicing
journalism. If you choose to have a career in journalism, you will most likely get many
different assignments in your career. The basic rules of journalism apply to everything
that you write.
Many people feel that newspaper reporters only report the news and give more credit to
journalists as they investigate the news - this is not true. Most newspaper reporters do a
fair share of investigation into their stories, or should.
Those who report on crimes in the
area and court actions are usually editors who have done their fair share of investigating
in their stories. You will quickly learn, when you are embarking on a career in
journalism, that the more you look into a story, the better the story will be. Sometimes
you have time to do this, other times you are working on a tight deadline.
You should be able to work on a tight deadline when you are a journalist. Not only is this
important if you are writing news stories, but it is also great training for any writer. The
more you write, the more concise your work will become and the better quality you will
be able to churn out in record time.
If you are interested in being a journalist, sit back and start reading. This book will tell
you everything you need to know about becoming a journalist and making a living
writing - both online and off line.
Grab Your Copy For Only . . . $4.95 I know you will get something from this well written eBook!
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