Newspaper journalists, also called reporters, investigate and write stories for local as well as national newspapers. To become a newspaper journalist, one need to have an investigative mind and should have a knack for doing research. The candidate also needs to be determined and persistent to make sure that he/she is aware about the latest report. One can make a foray into newspaper journalism by pursuing a course in journalism or by simply working as a trainee journalist in a local newspaper office. For both types of entry, it will help if you possess relevant experience, either through volunteering, paid work or sending articles which you’ve written during your spare time. It is a good idea to keep clippings of your published work and present them before the potential employers. To build up your experience, you can volunteer for student and community newspapers, submit articles to websites or maintain an online journal or blog.
Newspaper journalists cover up any event of interest to their specific audience, ranging from reporting on council meetings and school fetes for a local newspaper, to general elections and world events for the national press.
As a newspaper journalist, your work would typically include investigating a story as soon as it breaks out following up potential leads, developing new contacts, interviewing people, both personally and over the phone, attending press conferences, recording meetings and interviews, using recording equipment or writing in shorthand, coming up with ideas for new stories and features and writing articles in a style that will appeal to the intended audience. One can opt for specialisation in a specific subject such as sports, politics or entertainment. Most newspapers have an online edition; you may also write features and stories for their websites. Newspaper journalists sometimes work as sub-editors, editing the news filed by reporters. They process the stories and rectify the errors and also check the facts. As a journalist, one needs to remain flexible about working hours. Following up stories, responding to breaking news and meeting deadlines can mean working long, irregular hours, including late nights, weekends and on public holidays.
Journalists work in many areas of life, finding and presenting information. In my opinion, the main responsibility of a newspaper journalist is to report the news in a truthful, unbiased and apolitical way.
A journalist will usually be working in an open-plan office, which is likely to be hectic and noisy most of the time. One will also have to spend their time out of the office and may have to travel long distances for following up stories. If you work for the national or international press, this could mean travelling anywhere in the world, sometimes at short notices.
Journalists have a number of roles and responsibilities that they must consider throughout the course of their entire career; but of course this depends upon the area of journalism with which they are involved.
Newspaper reporting isn’t fun. It is long working hours with sometimes the reporter going without food for hours together.
News reporters do a marvellous job by providing us with news of all sorts from all over the world. They put their life in danger just to provide us with information. But unfortunately, the journalists who give up their life and time for us are not well treated and are beaten up many-a-times by the police and politicians. I really appreciate newspaper journalists and their passionate job that despite being assaulted many times, they don’t give up and perform their duties with perfection and that too in a truthful way.
Keep up the good work you’re doing dear editor and journalists of ‘Afternoon Voice’. You’re doing a wonderful job.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)