There are many reasons why a person may decide to become a professional journalist. I’ve listed five of mine. Which ones do you (fellow journalists and journalism students) recognise?
Meeting people from all walks of life is definitely my favourite. You need to have a good amount of curiosity about other people’s stories. What is their life story? What do they love? What drives them? Why do they make certain decisions? So far I’ve interviewed fire fighters, actors, pilots, storm chasers and doctors among many others. Every time I’m amazed at the way they live their lives, but at the same time I’m glad I do what I do!
Writing was one of the main reasons I decided to study Journalism. I’ve always been passionate about writing and to be able to make a living out of it, is a dream come true. But of course there are other skills involved with journalism, which can be just as important as being able to write properly.
Communication for instance. Having developed social skills certainly comes in handy with this profession! You can’t be afraid to make contact with people, because taking initiative is extremely important. On top of that, it’s essential that you know how to conduct an interview, how to make people feel at ease and that you know the rules of conversational etiquette. Decency is never overrated. People tend to avoid journalists who are rude and mainly ask obnoxious questions. A bit of common courtesy never hurt anyone!
Access to locations and events
Often you get access to places you wouldn’t be able to visit as a member of the public. Backstage at a concert for example, or on a ride-along with the police. Those are experiences you won’t forget! I always count my blessings when I’m given the privilege of being in a place where most people don’t have access to.
Last, but not least…There is no such thing as 9-to-5 and every day is different. The subjects you write about are different every day, and so are the people you talk to. If you don’t like routine and would like an interesting job with lots of diversity, then journalism might be the career for you…