Types of Journalists

To understand the job of a journalist and the different types of journalists better, let us first have a look at what is it that a journalist really does.

  • They create reports for broadcast or publication
  • They give a basis of gossip
  • They inform people about current affairs
  • They dig into stories in order to expose a matter
  • They alert people by providing relevant and accurate information during a crisis
  • They expose issues such as crime, corruption, fraud, politics etc

One may be tempted to think that a journalist is simply someone who gathers and report on news and import events. Looking closer at the journalism profession, you will see that there are many different types of journalists, each having different roles. Looking at the different types of journalists, we can list the following:

Reporters – they gather information and present it in a written or spoken form in news stories, feature articles or documentaries;

Sub-editors – they take stories written by reporters and put them into a form which suites the special needs of a particular media;

Photo journalists – they use photos to tell a story;

 The editor – they make a final decision what story will be published;

 Writers – they produce special commentary reviews of books, films etc

 

Areas of journalism.
As a journalist, you can also choose a specific area of focus. Here are a few areas in which journalists can specialise:

  • Arts
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Fashion
  • Medicine
  • Politics
  • Science
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Trade
  • Traffic
  • Weather
  • World

As you can see, there are many different areas of journalism and it may be important to establish which area you will enjoy the most, as you will dedicate most of your energy and efforts learning as much as possible about the area, staying on top of the topic and understanding the language of that area. You will get to know the news worthy people in that area as well as the readers who enjoys the reporting on this area. It is important that you choose an area in which you will feel comfortable and compassionate about.

Types of journalism and media.
We no longer live in an era where the news on television and the daily newspaper is the only source of journalism and reporting mechanism. In fact, there is a huge shift from the printed media to the digital media. Everyone can now access news and information on their, phone, pc or smart device. Companies can no longer rely on the old-fashioned way of doing things. Online magazines and newspapers, even online books are becoming more and more important to users in the digital era. Journalists have to adapt their way of thinking and operating to connect to their readers via all the latest channels of communication.

Journalists find employment many different types of businesses and we can list the following few as examples:

  • Newspapers (printed and online)
  • Magazines (printed and online)
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Communication officers for corporate companies and government overseeing all press releases and written company materials
  • Self-employed as freelance journalists

Looking at the list, one can compartmentalise journalism to the following areas of the media:

  • Print;
  • Online;
  • Broadcast

Job opportunities.

  • Broadcast
    Broadcast journalism relates to work in radio or television. It is an exciting field that includes responsibilities like the following:

      Camera work

       Video/sound editing

      Sound bites and voice-overs for news stories

      Investigative or in-depth profiles

Television journalists also have frequent opportunities to travel to cover important stories, an exciting prospect since it allows them to see new places while doing the job they love.

  • Online
    Online is still a new area of journalism that continues to grow and change every day. Journalists within this field are not limited to the usual responsibilities of news reporting since they expect you to have a working understanding of the internet and basic web-development skills. In recent years, bloggers have challenged the status quo of online journalism since they are not restricted to media laws and are able to report on some topics that journalists may have to avoid due to the restrictions imposed by the media companies that employ them.
  • Print
    Print media is the oldest and most recognisable form of journalism. The newsroom of a newspaper may be a high-stress work environment but those exposed to it find that it comes with a certain kind of exhilaration to have their fingers on the pulse of society and current affairs. The print media comes with a lot of deadlines, excitement and stress!

Useful links when job hunting in the journalism field:

http://www.careerjet.co.za/journalism-jobs.html

http://www.bestjobs.co.za/bt-emp-IN018-1-Journalism_Publishing_Employment_Recruitment.htm

http://www.jobisjob.co.za/journalist/jobs

The required personality and traits a journalist must have.

 

Ability to write clear, concise, interesting and objective material, while keeping to deadlines and time constraints;

Good general knowledge;

Interest in current events;

Ability to deliver information accurate and unbiased;

Show initiative, be curious and creative;

Skill to learn keyboard and shorthand skills;

Persistence to investigate records, interview and probe unremittingly;

Be able to mix well with all kinds of people;

Show good communication skills when working on radio and television.

There are no compulsory subjects but languages and history are recommended school subjects. An interest and knowledge of computers will also help students to settle into journalism studies.

Weighing it all up.
When deciding to pursue a career in journalism, one must look at both the satisfying and the demanding aspects of the job. Here is listing only a few to get you thinking. It may be wise to speak to people in the business to help you get a clear picture of the day-to-day pressures and pleasures of the job!

Satisfying Aspects:

 

helping the public to keep informed about important subjects and events

 

working on a new story almost every day

 

travelling

 

meeting interesting people

 

being part of exciting events

Demanding aspects:

 

the pressure of the job

 

the long and irregular hours

 

the danger involved in covering some types of events

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