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Careers in Journalism/Mass Communication

Careers in Journalism/Mass Communication


Journalism is concerned with collection and dissemination of news through the print media as well as the electronic media. This involves various areas of works like reporting, writing, editing, photographing, broadcasting or cable casting news items. Journalism is classified into two on the basis of media- (i) Print Journalism and (ii) Electronic (Audio/Visual) Journalism. Print Journalism includes newspapers, magazines and journals. In print journalism one can work as editors, reporters, columnists, correspondents etc. Electronic journalism includes working for Radio, Television and the Web. In the web, skilled people are required to maintain sites by web newspapers (which cater only to the web and do not have print editions) and popular newspapers and magazines who have their own web editions. In electronic journalism one can be a reporter, writer, editor, researcher, correspondent and anchor. Career in journalism is a prestigious profession as well as a highly paid one. Journalist play a major role in the development of nation. It is through them that we get information about daily happenings in the society. The purpose of journalism itself is to inform and interpret, educate and enlighten the people. The opportunities for journalists are endless and at the same time the job has become more challenging, as the new world is proving the adage that “the pen (and the camera) is mightier than the sword.” Simple reporting of events is no more sufficient, more specialisation and professionalism in reporting is required. Journalists specialize in diverse areas, such as politics, finance and economics, investigation, culture and sports for newspapers and periodicals.

Eligibility


Educational Qualification: Bachelor’s degree or post-graduate degree in journalism/mass communication is required to pursue a career in this field. Additional course work, specialized training or experience, fieldwork or internship increases one’s opportunities in the field. There are a number of universities and institutes offering training in journalism. Minimum eligibility for Bachelor degree in journalism is 10+2 and for Post graduate degree courses a Bachelor degree in journalism. Some institutes also provide one year certificate courses in journalism for which eligibility is 10+2. There are also courses in specialized areas of journalism like sports, television, photo, press law etc. No course or training can claim to make one, a journalist. The courses train persons in the technical aspects only, to ensure one’s success in the field one must have an inborn ability to write and produce new stories in correct, concise and interesting style. Latest trend in this regard is that big groups of newspapers advertise the posts of trainees for which all graduates are eligible. After conducting the entrance examination, suitable graduate trainees, with flair for writing are selected and employed. In other words, now the formal academic qualification for being a reporter, copy writer or correspondent is not essential. Personal Attributes: To become a journalist one should have an inquisitive mind, will power, an aptitude for presenting information in an accurate, concise and effective manner, organize their thoughts and to express themselves clearly both orally and in writing. At the same time a journalist has to be tactful, confident and organised while interviewing people from all walks of life. They must have the ability to sift relevant facts from the irrelevant. The ability to accept criticism and willingness to do considerable rewriting are also necessary.

Job Prospects and Career Options


They can find employment with newspapers, periodicals and magazines, central information service, press information bureau, websites, AIR and TV channels like Doordarshan, ZEE TV, Star TV etc. At the same time they can do freelancing. One can also take up this career as a part time employment along with any other field of work. Career Options in Journalism Journalists can work as editors, reporters, columnists, correspondents, staff or freelance writer, photojournalists, proofreaders, news analysts etc. in print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic (Radio, Television and Web) media. Editing Editor: In the editing field there are various positions: Chief Editor/Resident Editor: Chief /resident editor is in charge of the over-all functions of the publication. His primary responsibility is to supervise the functions of collection, selection and presentation of news. He reads and corrects copy for publication, decide on the editorial policy and the content of publications. Resident editor is in charge of a particular edition (Eg: Chennai edition, Mumbai edition etc.). Personal attributes: He should have excellent journalistic vision- awareness of the major or minor political and current affairs, communication skills, leadership quality and long term experience as an editor. Sub Editor: They assist chief editor in selecting & sorting the contents. Their job involves re-writing stories to fit the space assigned, improve the language, insert punctuation etc. They also give headlines and help in page layout. There are number of sub editors for each news paper. The chief sub editor is in charge of the team of sub editors- he assigns work and coordinates and supervises them. He act as a link between the chief editor and sub editors. News /Feature Editor: He is the right-hand man of the chief editor. He decides on the news to be published in the newspaper each day. He collect news, controls the network of correspondents, reporting staff and other news sources, allocate assignments and attend editorial conferences. Associate Editor: He directs the preparation of a section of a newspaper, magazine or a television or radio segment. He prepares news, feature articles and critical reviews, and plans the layout of the publication, assigns reporting staff and photographers to obtain coverage of matters of news or interest related to his section. Personal attributes: Editors must have the ability to write & edit articles, take speedy decisions, a questioning mentality and an awareness of current affairs. Job Prospectus: They can find job with newspaper groups, publishers of magazines and journals, Indian Information Service of the Government, websites etc. Proofreader: A proofreader compare proofs and edited copy (Written, typed or printed material) to ensure that the final text is complete and accurate, and that the spelling and punctuation are correct before final printing. They mark proofs for corrections, check revised proofs to ensure that the corrections have been made. They must have sound knowledge of spelling, punctuation and grammar, should be able to pay particular attention to detail and retain concentration for a long period. Reporting Reporter: He is the one who reports events as and when it occurs. The reporter is said to be the eyes & ears of the newspaper. Reporter attend press conferences, conduct interviews, visit sites of major occurrence and gather first hand report and present them in an unbiased manner. Their job involves a lot of traveling. A Chief reporter is in charge of the team of reporters, and assigns work to the reporters. Main newspapers employ reporters in all major cities. Personal attributes: Reporter should have an analytic approach, perseverance, cool temperament, writing skill and self-confidence. He should have good contacts with various news resources and an ability to sense news. Correspondent/Special Reporters: They are reporters for special purposes and their task involves reporting on a particular topic like politics, foreign affairs, sports, finance etc. They often report on news covering their area of expertise from a place where the particular event is happening. Their aim is to interpret or explain news, and comment on the events, trends and causes behind it. Special correspondent must choose the concerned field in which he has special interest to make a success out of it. Usually one must have sufficient experience as a reporter to become a special correspondent. Writing Writer: A writer chooses themes or subjects for written work, conduct research into the subject, assemble background material and obtain other necessary data. Writers may specialise in- Journalism, fiction writing; children’s books, educational textbook writing, historical writing and transferring oral histories into written form, humour or comedy writing and so on. In journalism, writers can be feature writers, leader writers, writers for multimedia and web and so on. Feature writer: Feature writers writes detailed stories or presents commentaries on specific news topics. They research and analyse facts and draw conclusions on a particular topic. They can cover any topic of public interest like interviews, organising data and evidence, feature story leads etc. Feature writing is more descriptive and detailed than news reporting. Leader Writer: He gives ideas on news topics in the editorial columns of newspapers or magazines and discusses prospects of improvement with trainee writers. Writing for Multimedia and the Web: Writers are required in multimedia and the worldwide Web for writing news and other articles. They must have a skill for writing precise text adaptive to the environment. If you can communicate your ideas through graphics, animation etc it is an added advantage in this field. Columnist: They are writers who contribute regularly to a publication. Usually one column on general or a specific topic is devoted to the writer. They writes a regular segment within their particular interest category, e.g. gardening, fashion, politics, films. The columnist usually projects a point of view, and could either be a commentator or a critic. They review developments in special areas they write on & may contribute to a number of news papers at the same time. Critic: A critic needs to be well read, have adequate knowledge and experience in his respective field. One can be a critic in various fields like film, art, drama etc. Only persons having good knowledge about the particular subject/art can authoritatively write about the subject. Photography Photo Journalist or News Photographer: They are the visual reporters. Photo journalists accompany reporters on assignments to take pictures that support a news story, feature or interview. They must know what makes a good news picture; be able to write accurate captions, work well with reporters, be quick and often work under difficult conditions. They must have good knowledge about technical aspects of photography like lighting, speed etc. to take photographs apt for the particular situation. Others Fashion Journalist: He is an overall in-charge of a fashion magazine. It is through him that the general public gets to know the latest fashion trends. He should have excellent taste for fashion and keeps himself abreast with latest fashion news, consumer reaction to new collections, fashion shows, current and future trends in colour, design and fabric. Today fashion journalist has a bright scope for employment as there is a need for exclusive articles and programmes with the development of fashion industry. Cartoonists and illustrators make a social or political comment on public figures or events in the form of a cartoon that is funny as well as witty. A cartoon is one man’s view of the world. Other departments included in the publication of a newspaper or periodical are : production, advertising, legal affairs department, circulation and public relations.

Remuneration


The minimum salary as per government directive has to be Rs. 5500 to Rs. 9000 for reporters and senior reporters, Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,500 for the chief reporters and sub-editors, and Rs. 7500 to 12000 for editors. Actual salaries offered depend on the company one is working with, and can be anything from very high to very low. Travel and stay expenses as well as allowances are additional with all pay packets. Freelancers are paid for each piece of work they submit.