A brief introduction

Introduction to Journalism & Mass Communication

“Pen is mightier than the sword.”

Journalism is now one of the most sought after careers for talented and driven young professionals. Not only does it enable one to have a say in front of a national and international audience, it is also one of the four pillars of our democracy and gives a lot of power to influence ideas in the public space. As thinkers from Karl Marx to Nehru to Antonio Gramsci have observed, the power to influence ideas, thoughts, the flow of information and ideologies - professional, ethical or political - is , in the final analysis, the root of all other forms of power in society. Careers in journalism give this power aplenty to our students who opt for a life in the mass media. Today, youngsters are fast influenced and lured by the ample growth and rewarding opportunities in media. There are job opportunities in media such as researchers, media planner, media designer, technician, editor, producer, journalist etc. This is true that career in media is a challenging job but it is one of the most versatile fields in the market. Today, media is very powerful medium to connect with millions of people in India and around the world.

In today’s era of communication and technology, people want to be aware and it is the role of the mass media to spread information about every relevant happening in the world. Newspapers, radio, television and more recently the internet are various means of spreading information and journalists have a very significant role to play in this practice. Politics, economics, art, culture, history, business, sports, entertainment and many other areas are covered by journalists. If you are talented and hard-working, a career in journalism will endow you with a good salary and perhaps even fame. With the growing importance of the media today, the opportunities in this field are numerous and the job is also very demanding and exhilarating at the same time. 

Every day, there are several events happening across the world — political , cultural, religious, educational, social and natural events, etc. We come to know about these events sitting in our houses. How is that possible? Through Mass Communication the information related to entities and individuals, communicated or transferred to entire world at the same time. The information is generally disseminated using the newspapers, books, magazines, websites, blogs, radio, film and television. But, for this, someone has to collect the information as well as present it. This is the main aim of journalism. Journalism includes investigating, analysing and reporting local as well as world events, trends, current affairs, and so on. Here we can say journalism is an integral part of mass communication. 

Personal Attributes:

If you are looking for a career in journalism, you must have a presentable and confident personality. The ability to write and present accurately and concisely is necessary. An inquisitive mind, good writing and communication skills, the ability to differentiate between fact and fiction and tact too are essential. Intelligence, awareness, and interest in current affairs are also necessary requirements. Most importantly, you must exercise high tolerance and be capable of working in difficult conditions if necessary.

Career opportunities:

Career in journalism is full of lucrative career options with many challenges. With the arrival of so many news channels, journalists get ample growth and well paid remunerations. Journalism in India has a very vital role to play. India is the world's biggest democracy and free and vibrant press is an essential organ of any democracy. Career in Journalism can be broadly divided in three categories:

Print Journalism

This is the traditional form of journalism and includes persons working in newspapers and magazine. The print journalism work can be broadly divided into two streams: the field and the desk. Field Work: In large newspapers and magazines each field worker has a special assignment. There are journalists assigned to cover political issues, corporate affairs, sports, fashion etc. Desk Work: Within the offices of newspapers and magazines is the news desk where sub-editors or copyeditors process these stories for presentation with headlines. It is their responsibility to see that the story is objective and has no personal bias.

Newspapers: The spread of literacy and modern printing technology assure that newspapers continue to shape opinions in the ‘global’ village of today. The career options available in this area are as follows:

Associate Editor:  As an associate editor, you would direct the preparation of a section of the newspaper or magazine. Preparation of news, featured articles and critical reviews will be your job. You will also have to plan the layout and assign reporters and photographers. To be an assistant editor, you must be aware and have the ability to write, edit and question constructively.

Sub-editor:Sorting the contents of the material to be printed, rewriting articles to ensure that they fit into the assigned space, improving the language and giving appropriate and attractive headlines will be your job as a sub-editor. Imagination, understanding and sense of news are imperative for this job.

Editor: Editor is the key head who ensures consistency and continuity of the newspaper or magazine. Your job as an editor would be to present the newspaper in an attractive manner and assure that it is highly utilitarian. Also appointing your juniors, writing the editorial section and leading the team will be your responsibility.

Proof Reader: Proof Reader compares proofs with the edited copy. Your job as a proof reader would involve completing the final text accurately. For this job you must have detailed knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Reporter: As the key operator of a newspaper, magazine, news agency, radio or television channel, your job will be to report with speed, clarity and accuracy. The sense to recognize a story and objectivity will be vital in ensuring that you act as the primary source of news.

Correspondent/Special reporter: To be a reporter for a special purpose, you must have detailed knowledge in a single field like politics, economics, sports etc. You must have the ability to interpret and explain the news on the basis of your awareness.

Writer:As a writer your job would involve choosing subjects and themes, conducting researches and assembling the material to write.

Feature writer: Writing detailed stories and commentaries on specific topics is the job of a feature writer.

Leader writer: These writers express their ideas and views on news topics through editorial columns.

Columnist: As a columnist, you would be writing for a specific segment in the newspaper or magazine. Your column would project your view concerning any topic that you know about like fashion, politics or films.

Critic: In order to be a critic, you will have to be well-read and experienced. Be it film, drama, literature or art, you must have comprehensive knowledge in the subject.

Photojournalist: Photojournalists are visual reporters who click photographs at events that makes news. In order to be a photojournalist, you must be quick and willing to work in difficult conditions. You should also be capable of clicking relevant and good news pictures, write appropriate captions and be aware of the technical aspects of photography.

Cartoonist: If you are artistic and humorous, then a career as a cartoonist will be suitable for you. Your job would involve commenting on public figures and events in a comical or satirical manner through your sketches.

Electronic Journalism

In today’s fast-paced world, our modes of access to news are not limited to newspapers alone. The television and the internet ensures that you get comprehensive details of all that is happening in the world with tremendous speed and accuracy. This area has a lot to offer when it comes to career options.

Researchers: Researchers do all the research work for the channel or the site. To be a researcher, you must be inventive, inquisitive and imaginative.

Production Workers: Good organizational skills and the ability to work independently are necessary for this job. Confidence to deal with crisis situations and sensitivity too are requirements.

Floor Managers: In order to be floor managers, you must have good communication skills and leadership qualities to guide and instruct others.

Transmission Executives: To be a transmission executive, you must have knowledge of the art of public relations. Good levels of concentration and dedication are also necessary.

Reporters: To be the primary source of news, you must have good communication skills and the ability to search and elaborate on all that is important.

Sound technicians: Creativity and communication skills are important for this job. A sense of sound effects and technical knowledge are also essential.

Camera workers: Artistic sense and technical knowledge are vital for this job. The ability to work in difficult and depressing circumstances and adaptability too are necessary.

Presenters: Good communication skills, skilled command over speech, diction and language, general knowledge and intelligence and the ability to be articulate and composed in stressful conditions are vital for this job. A presenter must also have a control over words and a good quality of expression.

Web Journalism:
The Internet is a global electronic community of millions of interconnected computer networks. The internet is fast emerging into an influential medium. Online journalism promises updated news content at no cost. The web journalist has to make the news sharp and interesting. Editing and presentation is the most important function because web users tend to scan the pages and not read them completely. Attractive captions are necessary and key facts have to be mentioned. Hence in order to become a web journalist you have to be aware and capable of writing precisely and concisely.

Radio: A graduation degree in mass communication readies you for an RJ’s job. All that you need is a good voice, wit and the ability to think on your feet. You will be a very valuable Radio Jockey with a wide following.

Advertising: This is a field for the creative minds. You can write ad copy that stays in people’s minds for generations; you can plan and execute campaigns and convince corporate clients of why they should give their advertising campaign to you. It’s a high voltage career, and offers several high paying jobs.

Public Relations: There was a time when few ventured into this field. Today, it has evolved into an exciting career that pays great salaries, and provides immense satisfaction. You not only create a positive image for your company but also work closely with the CEO and top managers in doing so.

If writing is your hobby, and you can present the things in an effective manner, if you love to take challenges, if you have got excellent communication skills, then a career in mass communication is waiting for you. Mass communication is one of the popularly emerging career fields with more and more students opting this as their higher career option.

Best of Luck, have a great career ahead.