Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

Journalism Career Path: Is Journalism a Good Career?

For the creative & opinionated, the media industry offers many exciting career options. Experienced journalist Shalini Pathak discusses all about the journalism career path to help you decide if it’s the right one for you.

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1. Journalism Career Path: What Does a Journalist Do?

Journalism is one such career opportunity that gives an individual a power of thought, confidence, creative freedom, etc. When an individual enrolls himself in the institution of mass communication, then they are taught to be fearless while speaking their mind, be creative and opinionated. A person should be cleared of their thought process and can make the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

Journalism is not just a career or course that one pursues after schooling. Instead, it’s an observation, passion and much more. It is also an art of stating the facts in a way that should be more convincing and promising. Journalism is all about what to include and what to exclude for your audiences. No matter whether you belong to print, online, broadcast and radio journalism, the main idea is to show gospel truth.

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Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Industry/Sector
1.2 Social Image
1.3 Reasons to Become a Journalist
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 Industry/Sector

Media industry; both private and public sectors.

Journalists are employed by the media industry, and can become a part of any type of media company. This includes print media, online or digital media, broadcast television or radio journalism. Both private media companies and government ones can be your employers. Undoubtedly, government media pays you well and gives all the perks as well like two days a week off, some provides lunch as well, etc.

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1.2 Social Image

Very highly respectable.

Of course, the journalism career path is one of the extremely respectable professions. However, it also depends upon a person’s perception how he/she looks at this. I believe, a person attains respect through their work in any profession, and this holds true for a person who belongs to the media, too.

1.3 Reasons to Become a Journalist

Creative fulfillment, passion to voice your opinions and create a change.

The journey of a journalist is not so easy, but not very tough either. It all depends upon an individual and how he/she perceives things. It demands creativity, passion and persistence. Journalism gives an individual the creative freedom they may be looking for. It also provides the ability to think out of the box and courage to bring their opinion/views to the table.

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2. What It Takes to Be a Journalist

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

Creativity, communication skills & ability to express opinions.

The key traits to becoming a journalist include:

  • News sense
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge about your field
  • Writing skills
  • Creative skills
  • Expressive
  • Presentable
  • Neutral
  • Authenticity

The primary trait one needs in order to take up the journalism career path is communication skill, including writing & speaking. A career in journalism requires a curious mind that is constantly trying to learn about their field. The ones with an outgoing attitude are the best suited for the world of media, so you need to be very expressive and authentic, too.

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2.2 Physical Demands

Extended working hours; travel on short-notice.

In the profession of journalism, you have to be dedicated towards your work. Sometimes you have to extend your working hours, hunt for stories and then file them. It is the commitment that you make to yourself and to your work. And if there’s any assignment that is happening in other cities or countries, then without thinking twice you have to take that call. After all, those qualities make a journalist complete.

In this way, it can be an extremely demanding career physically, mentally, and sometimes emotionally. You will constantly need your creative intellect and flexibility as a professional. Most importantly, you’ll need to be consistent and always motivated.

2.3 Psychological Demands in the Journalism Career Path

Requires full commitment always & sometimes there is pressure to meet deadlines.

Yes, the career of a journalist can be emotionally demanding and sometimes exhausting, too. Journalism does give you pressure at times and then your social life gets hampered. But as long as your soul is there, nothing matters. Media is one such profession that accepts you with open arms if you are passionate or committed towards it.

3. How to Build Interest in the Journalism Career Path

3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

It’s best to focus on improving your writing skills and general knowledge. Furthermore, you should also build your communication skills and creative thinking. It is also a good idea to increase your confidence and improve your analytical thinking. Here are some activities I’d recommend:

  • Writing skills – try writing articles or join your college’s writing club
  • Extempore- it does not only improve your vocabulary but that also enhances your communication skills and confidence.
  • Read interesting books
  • Talk to mirror- to have a friendly relation with the camera in future
  • Write blogs
  • Photography
  • Watch movies – it depends upon one’s interest.

Is journalism a good paying career

3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

  • Make a digital scrapbook
  • Play a sport. It can be chess, ludo, cricket, etc. – anything that you like.
  • Start a food blog
  • Listen to podcasts and audiobooks
  • Watch documentaries
  • Learn a new language

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

Here are some interesting movies I’d recommend that would give you some insight into the life of a journalist:

  • The Wire (Season 8)
  • The Insider (1999) [R/ 18+]
  • State of Play (2009) [PG-13]
  • Page 3 (2005) [PG-13]
  • Noor (2017)

3.4 Related Books to Read

  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City- By Matthew Desmond
  • The Faraway Brothers (Adapted for Young Adults- By Lauren Markham
  • Newsman: Tracking India in the Modi Era- By Rajdeep Sardesia
  • I’ve Never Been Unhappier- By Shaheen Bhat
  • 12 Commandments of a Being a Woman- By Tahira Kashyup

4. Life as a Journalist

4.1 Part-Time Options

Yes.

Nowadays, journalism also gives you that sense of comfort where you can fulfill your passion while not having to work full-time. And that is called freelancing. But again, being a freelance journalist demands your passion, patience and good writing skills to impress your audience (readers).

There are also certain types of journalism that don’t allow part-time job options. If you are looking for a role of broadcasting journalism, then you need to be physically present.

4.2 Traveling Required

Occasionally; depends on your job.

Traveling is not mandatory in all types of jobs in journalism. Travelling is required but only when you have any assignments, because then you have to go to cover the event and make a story.

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4.3 Average Workday/ What to Expect in the Journalism Career Path

Well, it depends upon organisation to organisation, but usually one needs to work around 9-10 hours a day.

First of all, I work in online media, so my roles and responsibilities are a little different from the other three media. As soon as I reach office, our main objective is to update the website for the morning readers and send notifications. It also depends upon the beat, every person handles different sections/beats. For instance, some handle politics, some do sports, etc.

On an average, a person needs to do 10 stories each and publish it to the website. At the same time, whatever stories you do, you have to post it on social media as well to get more readers. But there are times when you have to go for events. So then it becomes a bit challenging, because then you first update the website, leave for the event, cover, file byline story.

When the website is updated from morning to evening, then one can leave for home. And other people’s shifts start from evening till the next morning. Working with online media is way more challenging because it demands 24×7 commitment.

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5. Future of the Journalism Career Path

5.1 Retirement Prospects

As far as my knowledge is concerned, a journalist can work even after 60 and show his or her creative ideas with young talent because there’s no specific retirement age as such. As there’s the saying, ‘Experience matters,’ so a journalist guides fresh talent with his/her years and years of work experience. After retirement, some even join journalism institutes where they teach as faculty members.

5.2 Threats from AI & Automation

Does the journalism career path feel threatened by AI & automation? Well, the answer is both yes and no. Is journalism a dying field? Absolutely not. Times are changing fast and nowadays, AI startups are working on tools that aim to replace content writers and journalists.

However, with the current technology, these tools can only create content that in a way, replicates already existing content. Or they can create stories with a given data. So I’d say that if your job is really repetitive and doesn’t involve any creativity or analytical thinking, it’s at a very high risk of replacement in the coming decade.

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For a journalist to be successful, one needs to not only report events or do repetitive work. One needs to give their opinions, be creative to engage the readers in new ways every time. And this is something AI can’t do.

The best part about this is that the boring repetitive tasks can be taken over by AI in the next few years, and journalists will be left to work on truly interesting roles that make this profession exciting.

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit the Journalism Career Path

The most common reason for people to quit are the functional roles and responsibilities for a professional in India. It mostly depends upon a person, when they find journalism is becoming a bit hectic and giving too much pressure and they just want to settle in their own life, they may want to quit this career.

The truth is that journalism is a little different from other professions. It asks for your complete dedication, passion, and persistence. You have to be determined, and focused while making journalism a career.

Coming up soon:

How to Become a Journalist in India: Qualifications, Salary, etc.

Do you have a passion for the world of media & creating a change through your words? Journalist Shalini Pathak shares everything about the the path to becoming a journalist, from qualifications to salary and more.

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