Do You Want To Be A Journalist?

Do you want to make a living by snooping officials? Are you inquisitive by nature? Do you have a way with words? If you have answered all the questions in the affirmative, then you possibly have strong journalistic skills. So what's stopping you from claiming the next Pulitzer?

Journalism is all about communicating information through various media and involves the collection and dissemination of news through articles, speech or visuals. There are various categories in journalism. Read the details as given below and then choose what is the best fit for you.

Reporting: It implies coverage of any kind of event to get a story. Wherever possible, reporters research the background of a subject before beginning first-hand investigation. Whatever the issue, they are expected to present a clear and unbiased account of the facts they have gathered and particularly in controversial cases to include points of view of those involved.

Reporters must compose stories quickly and meet tight deadlines. Accuracy, brevity and speech are the most important factors. They do not have fixed timings and travel frequently, often to remote areas or trouble spots to cover the action.

Correspondent/Specialist Reporting: Involves reporting either on a topic of specialisation, or from a place other than the paper's headquarters.

Special correspondents often report on general news for the most part covering their area of expertise only as the need arises. Their aim is to interpret and explain news, and comment on the events, trends and causes behind it. Specialisation can range from politics, foreign affairs, finance and law to sports, culture or health and environment.

Few correspondents concentrate only on specialist writing. Those who do, such as syndicated columnist, usually contribute to several papers at the same time. The number of specialists/correspondents working for a paper depends on its size, circulation and resources.

News/Features Editing: This is for journalists with good organising skills. This is primarily a desk job involving little or no reporting. News and features editors control reporting staff, allocate assignments and attend editorial conferences.

Sub-Editing: Sub-editors are required to re-write stories to fit the space assigned; spruce up introductions and language, proof copy for spelling and punctuation; and sometimes give the story a 'slant' or focus of interest. They write headlines and sometimes, in consultation with the night or assistant editor, compose page layouts. Subbing is a desk job that involves teamwork
and is always done under tight time constraints. Sub-editors in newspapers work in shifts and therefore are on duty at odd hours.

Feature Writing: Is more descriptive and detailed than news reporting and can cover any topic of general interest. Experienced journalists or specialists usually write them. Often, freelancers are commissioned to write features for regular or weekend papers.

Columns: Topics can be general, usually a look at something from the writer's personal viewpoint or specialised, if the columnist is an expert on a particular subject. Sometimes, writers from other papers are invited to contribute their articles on a regular basis and are called 'guest columnists' Commentators are critics who review development in special areas like politics, sports, consumer affair, music, art or literature. They are also usually called columnists.

Leaders/Editorials: Are written by the editor, a special correspondent or experienced journalists and are full-length expressions of editorial opinion on a topic of current interest.

Cartoons/Graphics: Range from cartography, graphics and illustrations that enhance a story to caricatures and cartoons that comment on public figures or events.