KNOWING THE BASICS AND BECOMING SUCCESSFUL AS AN INFANT JOURNALIST
Chucks Dominic Morsi
First, I decided to write this article for the purpose of those fresher who just gained admission into citadel of learning with particular reference to University of Delta, Agbor and Delta State polytechnic Ogwashi-uku and by extension, other tertiary institutions of learning across board, that are offering work courses on mass communication. These new intakes may not have been acquainted with the difference between press and journalism or what the definition of mass communication really is. And other related professions which are integral part of mass communication.
For simplicity’s sake, what is the definition of mass communication and its function in journalism? Mass communication is a medium of imparting or exchanging of information on a large spectrum to reach a wide range of people. Journalism is known as the fourth estate and originally emanated in the 18th century by Edmund Burke who believes that the media has strong power and influence to shape political opinion. Thomas Carlye on the other hand, called the press “Fourth Estate of the Realm” because the press acts as a sort of watchdog. Therefore, the “Fourth Estate” is imperative because of the preponderant role it plays in the political process of any society. Journalism is a prestigious profession practiced by well-trained and educated journalists.
As you prepare to join the family of journalism and be called a journalist, it is important you know that, basically, there are different types of mass communication which includes: Press which refers to newspaper and that requires reporters and journalists who do the writing of articles and design the newspaper which in turn is taking to the machine that mass produces copies of the newspaper, hence, it is called the press. The journalists report the news and the trade or process of gathering stories and producing news is called, journalism. From that explanation, you can see the difference between the Press and journalism.
Journalism is the production and distribution of reports concerning events, facts, or other issues that may make up news for the day. Journalism reportage must be precise and accurate in all its idea, balancing all sides of the story informing our society. Now that you want to begin a career in Journalism, you must have to know the basics which I feel will help you create a niche for yourself and style of professional reportage you may choose to.
Also, we have broadcast (or electronic) media which may refer to digital, the internet; social media, radio and television are all medium of communication. There are integrated marketing communications, strategic communication, or political communication is all part and parcel of mass communication tool.
In a nutshell, what is mass communication? It can be defined as the act of a person, group of persons or people, or organization pass a message across to a general public or targeted audience through the means of communication and this audience are usually anonymous or heterogeneous (meaning, different kinds of people or things) or perhaps, organizations.
Like I have already pointed out, the sole essence of journalism is to inform people about issues, events and things that impact society, directly affects their everyday life. Meaning therefore that, journalism is the work of collecting and writing news stories for newspapers, magazines, radio or television for the purpose of information for public consumption. Someone puts it this way that, journalism is a matter of chasing the scoops and polishing the purple passages.
What does it mean to chasing scoop as a journalist? That is to say, going after those important and exciting news and breaking the news first, before other media houses (often seen as rivals) get to know the latest news and trending information – be the first to know – be the first to break the news, scoop your rivals. As a good practicing journalist, ensure that you take up extra responsibility that the society are able through you get informed about the happenings in government also. Sensitize the people where necessary. In which ever area you are appointed, radio journalism, television journalism, reporting, writing, news coverage, investigative journalism, stories or feature articles, be the best of you. How do you polish purple passages?
“Purple prose” or “purple passage” is piece of writings that you garnish with facts or that is too grand in style. Therefore, choose your own unique style or way of making that masterpiece an impressive and important article that must catch the attention of your readers. It is an achievement in the field of journalism to be skillful, innovative and having innate use of language and all other use of deistic terms. You must be conscientious, objective, have forthright views in all manner of consciousness – raising the process of making people aware of important social and political issues as it affects the society. Journalism is a deserving stint or career would-be journalist must give full attention and time to, if you must have successful-ladder-growth or become relevant in the journalism cadre. In that wise, I want to give you five qualities a journalist possesses:
As an aspiring journalist, learn to do the work as a job and not as a pleasure. On that note, here are some of the responsibilities of a journalist, I have been able to capture as follows:
*Balancing sociological and technical details. Never assume or have a lopsided reporting.
*The pursuit is truth (very important).
*Have discretion and patriotism in mind before publishing anything that might negate the nation’s interest or happiness.
*Don’t be a stereotype kind of a journalist,
*Improve on yourself by constantly reading and making new discoveries.
*Learn to work under pressure.
*Have “nose for news” – combing everywhere for news knowing that Journalists act like a sniffer dog.
Again, here are five elements of W and H deictic for news or report gathering. These essential codes you must keep in mind when writing report in journalism:
- Who (did it?)
- Where (did it happen?)
- When (did it happen?)
- What (really happened?)
- Why (did it happen)
For bonus, let me also add this, how (did it happen?)
The use of the above cliché will help you in achieving an interesting reporting. However, the craft of writing good news or article depends, of course on constant practice. As the old maxim goes, “practice make perfect”.
Who is a reporter?
He or she is a person who collects news for newspapers, radio or television.
Now reporting core values in journalism requires that you must be:
*Unbridled zest and passion for truth and par excellence.
*Efficiency, personal motivation and interest.
Well, I would have loved to go deeper in the discussion of the above topic but hope to make a small booklet on this someday where I will x-ray other nitty-gritty involved in the profession of journalism.
Meanwhile, with the little tips, I believe the would-be journalist already has an arrowhead. However, in the journalism profession, passion should be the self-motivation then you can grow within the leads and bounds of the industry. Therefore, your passion for the profession should make you become blind to everything else. Play a positive role first in the job and every other thing will fall in place for you.