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.
Scope and Areas of Work
in Print Media
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
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 write.
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
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
Tehelka.com, Indiatimes.com, Rediff.com, 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
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.
Where to Study and the
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 journalism.
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, SimbiosisInternationalUniversity, Pune etc.
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.
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
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 lead.
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
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
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
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 you.
Print Media organizations where aspirants can
find jobs are:
agencies and news bureaus like the Press Trust of India, Reuters, United
News of India and Associated Press
and journals in English and vernacular languages
Information Service (Group A) of the government, Directorates of publicity
publications of large corporate houses
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.
About the Author
Dr. Pradeep Nair is presently working as a Research Scientist and Course Coordinator
of PG Program in Development
Communication with Anwar Jamal
Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC) of Jamia Millia Islamia (A
Central University), Jamia Nagar, New Delhi.
E-mail Id: email@example.com