Journalism as a Career

Dr SHAHID RASOOL

Journalism is one of the oldest professions. Earlier mostly people landed in this field either accidentally or by the influence of peer group or the family. From the past three decades or so, however, people are increasingly taking journalism as a career by choice, as the field has professionally developed and the media industry generates thousands of jobs, every year, in specialized fields.

Today a career in journalism is considered not only glamorous and prestigious but the profession is a highly challenging and demanding career option. Earlier the sole purpose of journalism was to inform but now it is also to analyze, educate and enlighten the masses on various issues concerning them and the society. This has made journalists more important and profession more prestigious, as they not only influence the very thought process in societies but also guide the decision making at the highest level.

Jobs in print and electronic media range from a monthly package of Rs. 7000 to Rs. 12000, for the beginners as trainee reporters or trainee journalists, to Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 80,000 for correspondents, group editors or executive editors. Besides there are hundreds of other opportunities for freelancers, columnists, photojournalists and of late citizen journalists. Some of the jobs available in various media fields at different levels include, reporters, correspondents, sub-editors, editors, group editors, managing editors, copy writers, photojournalist, cartoonist.

With the advent of broadcast journalism, web journalism, and convergent journalism there is a huge demand for technical positions like producers, production assistants, video editors, graphic artists, animators, camera persons, sound recordists, web designers etc.

Conventionally journalism is categorized as print journalism, including newspapers, news magazines, journals, digests etc. and electronic journalism or broadcast journalism including television, cable television, radio and new media -internet and the web journalism. But with the advancement of information and communication technology the distinction between the two is fast vanishing.

While web journalism or e-journalism has established strong roots, the convergent journalism -a mix of print and electronic journalism, is taking over the conventional journalism in a big way. Many national and international newspapers besides print and broadcast, include video stories on the web edition. This has made the task of a reporter much tougher and demanding. A reporter while reporting a news story for print is also expected to file a video or photo story. In the coming years the demand will be more for the persons who are well trained in both the areas of journalism. The TV journalism in comparison to print requires better writing and directing skills, as a reporter has to tell a story in significantly lesser words and also to see how beautifully the story can be told in an interesting manner.

Making presentation glossy and sleek at the same time carrying the content effectively, without leaving out much. This requires a higher degree of understanding of both the media and a solid training in every field. A journalist today is expected to be a generalist; at least in the beginning. That said, there is a huge demand for specialists for higher positions. To meet the ever increasing demand of the industry for the convergent journalists, as the proliferation of media is taking place at local, national, and international level, most of the media institutions have drastically changed their syllabi. Some have launched specialized convergent journalism courses.

As the saying goes, when the new media arrives, the old media has to reinvent itself to stay in the business. The news papers and magazines would have vanished had they not moved beyond reporting. By the time newspaper reaches a reader the news is already stale, due to breaking news phenomenon of the broadcast channels. Despite this the newspapers are being sold and read and in fact the number and the circulation of newspapers during the last decade has increased manifold.

The arrival of new media has given rise to cut throat competition in various media channels resulting in creation of specialized jobs involved in packaging of news. The new attractive and glossy packaging of news reports, articles and columns has given rise to demand for designer journalists. In simpler words the designer journalist is a journalist and graphic designer in one. News report writing, editing and presentation has become the most important and crucial activity, as most web surfers tend to scan the pages and not read them entirely. Therefore eye-catching captions and highlighting key facts are necessary besides writing precisely and concisely.

On one hand the journalist, today, are trained to tell their story using all the possible tools, pen, paper, camera, keyboard and computers on the other straightforward

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