What is Journalism? It’s a way of informing the people about events taking place in their society and the world, whether it is political or social issues. It’s all about telling untold stories within society. The journalism medium has the potential to influence and change society at large, that’s why if you want to be a journalist you have to be someone in pursuit of truth, don’t let your bias and prejudices get in the way of society finding out the truth.
There are various news staff writers
Beat reporters: meaning that you can write or broadcast on any topic or focus on certain types of news, be it about politics, sports, hard news or entertainment.
General assignment reporters: they are journalists who cover news generally without any specific tasks. They report when the editor needs a front cover- a story of interest that is trending, and must be delivered by deadline!
Special assignment reporters: These types have their specific departments that they write for, sports entertainment, investigative and politics. You would normally find special assignment in bigger publications. Smaller publications have more beat reporters.
The journalism industry has really evolved over the years, with the help of technology, from print to digital. Journalists don’t have to work from the office 24/7; they can work from the different places that they are located in and still be able to submit their work on time. Depending on the contract that you’ve signed with the publication that you work for they may freelance, this mean that you may work with other publications while still working for them, you can work certain days or when they call you to cover a story.
What it takes to make it as a good journalist:
- Be able to work under pressure; there might be a story that has to get out immediately and you’d have a few hours to get the information that you need
- Be time disciplined – it’s a deadline driven industry. If you take time to deliver a story after the hype around it has faded, people might not be interested in hearing it again.
- Be able to work in teams because the newsroom is all about working together and making sure that everything comes together perfectly.
- Ethics and professionalism.
Boston Media House was one of my first choices when it came to tertiary institutes because they are one of the few institutes that specialise in media related subjects, journalism included. I knew that it would be a perfect fit for me, because I knew that I was entering a world that was full of creative people and people who thought differently.
When entering the media industry mentorship is important if you’re really passionate about the field. I approached Amanda Matshaka, a channel Afrika radio journalist who has been in the industry for more than 10 years. She agreed to teach me about the journalism industry, she also has a news publication and was starting a mentorship programme where she mentors upcoming journalists all over Africa. With her mentoring me I learnt that news never sleeps, you have to make sure that you’re ready for anything at any time and it’s all about hard work and dedication.
Qualifications: It takes three years to get your Boston Diploma in Media Practices qualification. In the first two years you get to learn about different sectors in the industry including journalism. In the third year that’s when you can major specifically in journalism
I learnt that being a journalist doesn’t mean that you’re only limited to being a journalist, writing for a specific publication and nothing else. In the media industry every career compliments each other meaning that they interact with one another, as a journalist you can work in the public relations industry, marketing, and in the film industry, because of the great research and writing skills you acquire during the years.
By Yami Nhlenyama - student at Boston Media House