Friday, June 18, 2021
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The dark side of Journalism

The idea of being a journalist looks very good from outside. The whole idea of editing news, collecting news worthy articles and making them worthy of being published sounds great to the ears. Even the work of reporters, of gathering sources, befriending politicians, celebrities and policemen looks attractive from outside. However, once inside the industry, one knows how taxing and stressful the lives of newsmen are.

Reporters have a certain beat and a certain area to cover. Take for example a reporter who covers the crime beat in the western suburbs. It is not possible for him or her to be present in all areas when a crime takes place. So reporters have ‘contacts’ or ‘friends’. These are other reporters belonging to other newspapers. A newspaper office gives a reporter only three hours to cover a report and file it in their office. So within three hours, it is impossible for a reporter to travel to that area, collect information from the police and from the kin of the victim, take photographs , write the report and file the news in their respective offices. So reporters take turns to visit an area and they pass on all vital information about the news to their peers. Other reporters who were not present on the site merely rewrites the news and files it in their offices. This is how the group of reporters work.

Photographers too work in similar manner. However, pursuing studies in journalism is very different from actually being a journalist. Being a journalism student means studying a descriptive subject on the history of journalism, polishing your reporting and editing skills, learning the art of creative writing and studying the role of television and radio in an analytical way. Classroom debates, discussions and power point presentation on news forms a part of their curriculum. Students learn to work in groups and enhance their knowledge and expertise in the matter by observing others.

However, the practical work of a journalist is quite different. A journalist has to work under various pressures and meet deadlines. Their work is very stressful. Any flaw on their part is unpardonable. They have to produce recent, newsworthy and unplagarised news articles. They have very limited holidays and too much work pressure. They have to travel distances and sometimes even risk their lives to cover news. Hence, what you get in the newspapers to read is after a lot of toil and hardwork.

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