James P DeVellis is a local journalist who has over 30 years of experience writing about local events, important news and he has even extended his professionalism to some of the more quirky local stories like the recent fox epidemic! James has had chances to go national with his journalism but he always preferred to keep things local and so voluntarily refused these job offers. Journalism is one of the most common majors which is taken by university students today but the actual number of students who go on to work in journalism is a very low percentage of those who have chosen the major. James believes that the reason for this is that many lack the required skills to be a journalist, and here is what he believes the vital skills are.
Desire for the Story
Being a journalist is about far more than simply being a great writer or storyteller, it is also about getting the story in the first place. This is a skill which is not easy, a reporter must chase up sources, seek out individuals who may be able to help support the story and of course, do all of this without any kind of misconduct at all. The writing of the story is of course important, but without the leg work there wouldn’t be a story to write.
Many people completely overlook the importance of writing ability for journalists, thinking that as long as it is accurate and perhaps a little dramatic, that this will be enough. Journalism however is the purest form of writing and the difference between the quality of the writer can make the same story look either drab or dramatic. Penmanship is a key skill which anyone needs if they want to go on to become a journalist one day.
Something else which is vitally important for any reporter or journalist is their ability to build and maintain strong relationships with sources. A journalist must amass a black book of contacts which they can call upon when they need some help with a story. These can be all manner of contacts from local police to courtroom workers, local shopkeepers and occasionally some criminals who are in the know. A journalist is only as good as his or her sources so building relationships is vitally important.
Finally passion is required in order to become a great journalist, anyone who thinks to become a journalist yet doesn’t really have the passion for it will simply not be able to do it well and they wouldn’t last long at all in this environment. One must have a passion for writing, a passion for the truth and a passion for working in media. Without this passion, it isn’t even worth trying.
Would you like to become a journalist one day, do you think that you have the skills to do it?
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