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How to Become a Journalist

Arjun Kulkarni
Regarded as the profession that links to everything, journalism is your gateway to the entire world. News happens everyday and you have to be the first one to cover it. The rush of the job and getting personal coverage are what make this field so interesting.
Journalism is one of the most popular career options in the world today. Why? Because everyone in the world wants news, whether it is on politics, business, sports or gossip. The market for news reporting is quite huge. Hence, it is one of those mass media careers which is quite pervasive all over the world. But then again, it requires the correct educational qualifications and the desire to work hard. Moreover, journalism is an art, for which one needs the correct aptitude.

Educational Requirements

A good career starts with good education. Hence, the first thing you will need to do is enroll yourself in a good journalism school. A course can be done at both bachelors and master's levels. Of course, the one with a bachelors level degree will get more of an entry-level job, while one with a master's degree has a higher chance of getting recruited at a better position in a media house. It also helps if you hold a degree or a diploma in English language too.
Your college may also offer you a specialization in various courses for you to choose from, like newspaper reporting, investigative reporting, foreign correspondence, broadcast journalism (TV and radio), sports, online and photojournalism. So you can choose your specialization based on the type of career you want to make.
Along with the value addition which the journalism school will give you, it is increasingly being seen that media houses prefer recruiting from such schools as opposed to general interviews? Why? Because when they recruit from the journalism schools, it saves them the time and the effort of basic training. While on-the-job training still remains unavoidable, by recruiting ready-to-work graduates means that the media houses recruit people who have a fair idea of what their job is about.
The second very important reason why you should go to a good journalism school is because the school may hook you up as an intern with a media house. This helps break the cycle of media houses not recruiting you due to your lack of experience, and you aren't experienced enough because no media house recruits you.
A good internship means you get valuable insight into the job of a journalist. It also helps you build contacts and news sources and informants, a key professional requirement for journalists.
And the last step is to spread the word about yourself. Most probably, you might get recruited on campus by media houses visiting your college. But in case they don't, you might have to send your resume to various media houses and employment websites which will help you find a suitable job.

Duties, Career and Salary

Of course, one also needs to look at the career and salary scope of a particular career before zeroing in on it. A journalist recruited at the entry-level will be pretty much on the field, scouring it for an interesting story. Initially, the journalist might just be in charge of finding a story but not writing it at all.
The second step is finding a story and reporting it in the newspaper/news channel, etc. The third step could be writing his/her opinion on the breaking news of the day and what should be the way forward. The pinnacle of a journalist's career would be working as the editor for the newspaper/news channel on the whole, and pretty much running the show!
The salary depends a lot on the years of experience. A journalist with an experience of less than 1 year can expect to get around $26000 to $35000 annually. The salary may be variable based on the number of stories, the reports, and also the exact job description.
A career in journalism is an exciting one which helps you carve a niche and a name for yourself in the society, and is quite remunerative as long as you do well. So I urge you to consider this career seriously.