Good reporters are hard to make. It usually takes years of experience and dedication and it is not the easiest career path. Journalism is constantly changing and with the birth of the internet it has become even more challenging and competitive. We are going to go through some basics on what a good reporter must have in order to make it in the business.
A good journalist is reliable. This has to be a person who is trustworthy and well-informed. In order to reach that goal, a good reporter has to know how to gather information and present it in an interesting manner.
When interviewing or being on the spot, reporters need to know how to be present and remember everything they’ve seen or heard. A good memory is the key to good reporting. Having the ability to remember things correctly and making an account of them later can be a time-saver and a career game-changer. In journalism, you shouldn’t leave room for mistakes even if you think they are insignificant.
If you don’t have perfect memory, always bring a pen and papers with you. The written word is always reliable.
In journalism, it is always important to know the facts. If you’re reporting on numbers be sure to report accurately because this mishap can easily come back to bite you. If you can’t obtain the right numbers just say an estimate and you will be safe.
Other than this, your goal is to be as precise as possible. Try fishing out the information you need to make a story complete. Ask questions which are pertinent to the subject and obtain several different sources of information.
You have to be a talented spokesperson and story-teller. Reports should be eloquent and quick on their feet. They need to know the jargon of the matters they are reporting on and keep themselves up to date on relevant matters.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert in the field you are reporting on. You don’t need to be a CEO to report on business. You don’t need to be a senator to talk about politics either. Your job is to have all the information and report about the matter with confidence and knowledge. You need to know the issue like the back of your hand.
Be a Professional
Never stoop to some levels in order to get the information you want. Yes, this is a competitive business, and yes, you sometimes need to be savage but make some ground rules for yourself. Never behave disrespectfully and remain on the high-road as much as you can. Don’t misinform and besmirch people for your own gain. Some questions and assumptions are simply too impolite to write about.
Keep Yourself Updated
If there are changes to a story you have already reported about you need to follow up on that. It doesn’t matter whether you want to rewrite it or no – the key in journalism is to know as much as you can.
Be sure to read a lot, to watch different news reports, and socialize in the right circles.