The proliferation of magazines and periodicals has also led to the proliferation of jobs in the field of journalism. There is no doubt that an ambitious man or woman possessing the necessary qualifications can find suitable opening in the newspaper media. The career of a journalist demands a wide range of qualities and skills. There is no doubt that this career is highly rewarding, but a journalist has to work very hard for this.
He has to know something of everything. The person who wants to reach the top has to master the techniques of journalism and go through the mill. He should also possess a flair for writing, sound judgement, personal integrity, earning for facts and an expert knowledge of all branches of journalism. The persons, who work for newspapers, come from many backgrounds and are of many temperaments. Those in the editorial departments need a strong sense of curiosity about their fellow-beings and sympathy for them.
The other qualifications include a good command of language in which the paper is printed, an interest in politics and the government, a desire to know why things happen, high respect for accuracy and an aptitude for personal communication with other people in order to obtain news from them. A reporter must be both a willing listener and an alert poser of questions. Now-a-days newspapers generally seek employees for all editorial and journalistic jobs, who have had at least some college education.
Many editors insist upon a graduation degree as the minimum educational requirement for all reporters they hire. The diploma in journalism is desirable, but is not absolutely essential. Nevertheless, an applicant who is well trained in liberal arts, with emphasis on the language of the newspaper and political science, is welcome in most newspapers. Some of those who join this career can also specialise in a particular branch of journalism like news reporting, editorial work, photography, feature writing, sports reporting, writing for TV and Radio, criticism, magazine writing etc. Reporting and desk-work are two main divisions of newsroom work. Reporting includes gathering and writing news and feature stories. Desk-work includes the preparation for printing of the writing material and photographs submitted by the reporters, photographers and the news agencies.
The persons who do the desk-work are called the editors. Some men and women find their greatest satisfaction in being reporters all their lives probing for information, being close to event as they happen and mingling with the people who make news. Few laymen have any concept of the inside workers of newspapers who really put the paper together. In fact, even the desk experience is quite necessary for the top jobs.
Similarly, few desk men are successful unless they have had a thorough grounding in reporting. Only in this way they can know the problems a reporter faces on a story and can give him useful suggestions. A beginner can start city hall beat reporter for small daily, he may also start as the telegraph editor handling the news wire and writing headlines. If he chooses the reporting path and sticks to reporting, then he may graduate eventually to a metropolitan reporting staff. If he selects the editing path, he may advance to a large paper copy desk.
Or, in either capacity, he may remain with the small daily and soon rise to the editorial management status. Some persons prefer to become specialists and do their reporting in one specific field itself. The women’s page of a modern daily offers many opportunities for stimulating writing; the sports page has also been a great attraction for young reporters. Business news is also a specialities of many papers. Some big papers also offer opportunities to critical reviewers of film, television, the drama and books.
There are also many opportunities to specialise in one of the broader general news areas; politics, science, labour, religion, urban problems, social work, and public help. Although news reporting is the most glamourous and best publicised part of newspapers work, there are many other opportunities available for young men and women on the editorial page, advertising and sales, copy-writing, circulation, photograph, promotion, public relations etc. in a newspaper. Many young men and women join certain small newspapers or magazines even to do the subordinate or secretarial work. After obtaining a foothold in the newspaper work they rise up to high posts due to their merits and qualifications, because after working in the offices of these newspapers and magazines they acquire a lot of practical experience in the field of journalism. Some persons, while working in subordinate positions, increase their educational and professional qualifications by attending part time evening courses or through correspondence courses.
Although academic or professional education is not an essential requirement for a successful career in journalism yet some academic qualification is desirable as a minimum so that a person can write correctly and fluently. Possession of a university degree may be quite advisable for those who want to achieve rapid progress in field of journalism or who want to reach the top jobs. Some newspapers also demand a minimum qualification of Bachelor degree or its equivalent for the new entrants. A young man or woman who possesses the minimum educational qualification and the aptitude for journalistic work should apply for to some newspaper or magazine office. If a person has already done some writing work, it will be considered as an additional qualification.
There is no doubt that a brilliant person possessing a good educational qualification and an aptitude for writing work, will not find much difficulty in securing position or job in some newspaper or magazine office. Some newspapers may also offer the post of trainee or a junior reporter in the beginning for six months or one year. If a person wants to join this profession, he may accept even this offer.
To start with the salary offered may not be very high, but as a person gathers experience and proficiency in writing, he will be able to obtain rapid promotions and a good salary due to his ability and efficiency.