Friday, August 20, 2010


 If you dream of making a qualitative change in the people's life,
bringing into light the dark side of the society, have the patience to
get along with politicians, bureaucrats, criminals and a myriad of
persons desperate to get some ready to rush to work at odd hours, do
night shifts; Journalism is one of the best careers to pursue.

Journalism as such is more than a career, it's a mission. A mission that
generates your creativity helps you socialize, earn name along with your
livelihood, bring to the forefront problems facing the society and help
implement the possible solutions. These inherent advantages of
journalism attract a lot of young graduates.

Print Media is the oldest form of media. But even today it is growing
from strength to strength. Around 4000 small, medium and large
newspapers and magazines across the county are registered with the
Registrar of Newspapers every year. This indicates that it is a growing
sector where employment opportunities are increasing with each passing day.

Most of the young aspirants who want to enter the print media prefer
reporting, but newspapers and magazines also seek young talent as
photographers, artists, editors, computer experts, librarians, and
cartoonists. Students who have writing ability, graphics or photo
skills, curiosity and determination and who are well prepared by
education and training have less difficulty in finding a good opening in
the print media. The well known areas to work are:

*Editing* ? Editing means to plan the contents of the publication and to
supervise its preparation. Newspapers have Editors who should have sound
knowledge of newspaper laws. They need to put forward innovative ideas
and establish the style of the publication. Editors must be able to
coordinate the efforts of a team. They must possess a sound knowledge of
their market, and take the initiative in looking for new authors and new
subjects. In very large newspapers, there are associate or assistant
editors who are responsible for particular topics, such as sports,
international news, local news, supplements, special pullouts, etc.
Administrative duties of editors include hiring writers, planning
budgets and negotiating contracts with freelance writers.

Newspapers also have a large number of sub-editors whose job is to give
a final shape to the story submitted by a reporter. Sub-editors acts
almost like a gate keeper ? editing, reformatting, objectively
presenting each report, keeping in mind the general policy of the
newspaper. They must be able to identify potential doubts, complications
and mistakes in the text, inconsistencies or lack of adherence to the
style of newspaper.

*Reporting *? 

Reporting in Newspapers and Magazines means to file
stories about local, state, national and international events; to
present different view points on current issues and to monitor the
actions of public officials and others who exercise power. Newspapers
frequently station reporters known as correspondents in large cities and
in other countries to prepare stories on major news events occurring in
these locations.

*Freelancing *?

One can also work as a freelance journalist for
newspapers and magazines. Freelancers are not the regular employees of
the organization. They are paid according to each piece or article they

*Writing Columns* ? 

A newspaper appoints specialists for regular
columns. Columnists, being assigned a column, have to keep contributing
to the column on a regular basis.

*Writing Comments ?

*Well known people, who are authorities in their
respective fields, are invited to write on topical issues in magazines
or newspapers.

*Drawing Cartoons* ?

A comical or satirical sketch on political,
cultural events is the job of a cartoonist. While established
cartoonists work for some big groups, others are generally free lancers.

*Working as an Artist* - Illustrators and cartographers who specialize
in maps and charts to illustrate data work in this medium.

*Photojournalism* ? Photojournalism is an art to tell a story with
pictures. People having an interest in photography with an ability to
link it with a news story can work for newspapers and magazines as a
photojournalist. **

* *

*Nature of the Job*

A journalist can work in various capacities in print media. The print
has several sub categories like newspaper, magazines and news agencies,
and also internet based news portals like,,, etc.

In a newspaper house, fresh journalism graduates usually join as
trainees at the news desk or the editing desk. After a couple of years,
they get transferred to reporting. However, exceptions to this rule are
common and some people join straightaway as trainee reporter also.

The hierarchy for reporters in most of the newspaper houses is roughly
as follows - trainee, staff reporter correspondent, principal reporter/
senior reporter/ correspondent, chief reporter and special
representative/ correspondent.

Working for a news agency is slightly different because of the tougher
deadlines - not at the end of the day but right now. The ABC of news
agency reporting seeks accuracy, brevity and clarity. The format of
writing is very straight forward and to the point and does not allow any
scope for speculation or analysis within the news story. Agencies like
Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India (UNI) are 24 hours
open and their offices are not closed even on Republic or Independence
Day or on big festivals, which are holidays for the newspapers.

Reporting for magazines involves less leg work than newspapers. But it
requires closer co-operation with the sources of news. Here, the
distinction between reporting, editing and desk work many a time gets
blurred and the reporter does all the work.

To pursue a career in the print media one may attain a bachelor's degree
or a post-graduate degree or diploma in journalism or mass
communication. Courses in journalism are offered in English, Hindi and
regional languages. Specialized courses in selected fields like page
composition, layout designing and photo journalism are also offered.
Apart from the professional degrees, other skills required are a good
command over the language, good general knowledge and the ability to
collect information and report events quickly.

Now a day?s most of the Indian universities offer both under-graduate
and post-graduate programs in journalism. Graduates of any stream are
eligible to opt for a post-graduate degree or diploma program in

Some of the well known institutes offering journalism courses are Indian
Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, AJK ? Mass Communication
Research Centre (MCRC) of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Asian College
of Journalism, Chennai, Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan units at Mumbai, Delhi,
Thiruvananthapuram, Manipal Institute of Communication, Manipal, Times
of India School of Journalism, Mumbai, Pioneer Media School, New Delhi,
The Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam, St. Xavier?s Institute
of Communication, Mumbai, Simbiosis International University, Pune etc.

Beside this, there are certain traits which a budding journalism
graduate needs to know while opting journalism as a career. A good
journalist should have ? a keen interest in people related issues, an
inquisitive nature, ability to meet deadlines and outstanding
communication skills. Basically if you are not interested in what people
have to say, their emotions and their achievements, you simply cannot
function as a journalist. **

* *

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.
Private sector even offers higher remuneration including lucrative
various fringe benefits. However salaries offered depend on the
publication house one is working with. Field journalists are given
travel and stay expenses as well as allowances are additional with all
pay packets. Freelancers are paid for each piece of work they submit.
Self-employed also have good earning depending upon the nature and
extension of their business.

Further, the bigger publishing houses pay far higher salaries than the
prescribed grades of the Government of India. Entry level salaries range
between Rs. 8000 to 12000, experienced Journalists get from Rs. 20000 to
25000 and Senior Journalists earn over a Lac per month. Editors of
several publications draw salaries in Lacs as they are given globally
competitive salaries.

*Excelling your Skills *

Journalism is one of the most important vocations. Journalists not only
report news but are also responsible for searching out for new stories
that might impact the larger society. Journalists are also responsible
for shaping opinions and perceptions about key issues that are
prevailing in a society. From the local to the national level,
journalists play a key role in shaping public opinions and perceptions.
Journalists therefore perform a special function and one that no other
vocation does.

Journalism as a vocation has also been one of the fields that have seen
a radical change over the years. Both print and the visual medium have
grown exponentially over the years and there is always a demand for
skilled professionals. Increasing competitiveness has also led
journalism becoming a very high stress job where deadlines must be met
at all cost.

There is also an intense competition for more readers and viewers in
both the print and the visual media. Both print and media journalists
have to battle the daily stresses of work and life in order to produce
relevant results. The job is stressful and may involve very high
workloads in order to meet tight deadlines. It is not a profession for
the weak willed or the timeservers. The vocation requires passion and
complete dedication from an individual if he wants to excel.  

Good writing skills itself is not enough to excel in journalism. In
addition to it, one requires an attention to details, because it is in
these details that a story finds both clarity and meaning. Journalism
also requires boundless energy and the relentlessness to pursue a good

Journalism can be an ideal career for those who love to read books and
write. The vocation offers them an opportunity to extend their natural
talents and utilize them to the best of their abilities. There are also
various streams within journalism that a journalist can specialize in.
These specializations include sports, investigative, science and film

For people who are looking forward to a journalism career, there are so
many things that they can do to move an inch higher to their dream. For
young people who were already to determine in themselves that a
journalism career is really the profession that they would want to
pursue, they can start gaining all they need to be qualified for the job.

Young ones should be arming themselves with the necessary skills in
becoming a journalist such as writing. To do this, they should practice
writing articles more often and monitor their improvement. To be more
knowledgeable about the craft, they should also enroll in various
writing workshops where the resource person are the ones who have been
in the industry long enough to share their first-hand experiences. Aside
from meeting famous writers and journalists, attending writing workshops
can also help you improve your craft and will introduce you more into
the technicalities of writing such as styles, structures and the like.

To widen your vocabulary, it is also a must that you read the newspaper
regularly. Aside from current events and news, reading feature articles
in magazines and even novels can help you be familiar with certain
writing styles that can help you in creating your own in the future.

When you get to college, it is best to take up a journalism degree
giving importance to the practical assignments. Generally in a good
institute, you will be trained in all aspects of the field. Aside from
training your writing skills, the school will open you up to other
possibilities of the field such as the business side and other fields
that may help you decide which field you are really suited to. Here, you
will also have the opportunity to meet the "masters" in the field and
you will also be able to use the school publication as the training
ground for your future journalism career.

* *

*Getting the First Career Break*

Graduates can go in for an internship with a newspaper for supervised
training. The latest trend in this regard is that big groups of
newspapers advertise the posts of trainees in any of the above
categories. After conducting the entrance examination, suitable graduate
trainees, with a flair for writing, are selected and employed.

Almost all newspapers hire journalism graduates fresh out of college,
though most of the larger papers (and many of the medium-sized ones) ask
for prior experience. Therefore, the smaller the newspaper, the better
your chances of landing that first job. It is advantageous to apply to
newspapers that you know something about, newspapers where you have had
an internship, and papers that are located in areas that are familiar to

    * Newspaper groups
    * News agencies and news bureaus like the Press Trust of India,
      Reuters, United News of India and Associated Press
    * Magazines and journals in English and vernacular languages
    * Indian Information Service (Group A) of the government,
      Directorates of publicity
    * In-house publications of large corporate houses
    * Websites

It is best to create your own opportunity by learning how to market
one's self, coming up with a strong portfolio, and to know when the best
time to break into the field is. Here two things are quite important.
The first one is to *sell one's self.* This is a very important aspect
because employers and editors would not believe you if you just say that
you are good. During an interview for a position, try to mention some of
your good qualities that can be assets to the publication such as
resourcefulness, creativity, and productivity. The second one is the
*willingness to start small*.  If you are a fresh journalism graduate,
don't expect that you will get the position you want right away. Since
the journalism field is competitive, it is best if you will have mindset
of starting small. Those who are enjoying their journalism career
nowadays are the ones who underwent through the ladder of success.


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