5 Traits of a Good Journalist in the Making–What Journalism Students Need to Know


January 12, 2019 admin 0 Comment

But the extreme objectivists believe that the reporters must pass on the news as it comes without searching for rebuttals or supporting facts.

The reporters should not point out who is right and who is wrong in their news reports. On the other hand, the interpretationists believe that choosing a particular report instead of other events is in itself a value judgement.

Therefore, a newsman having judged what is important, must also finish the job by telling how it is important.

They believe that the newsman must give their comments along with the news. According to the extreme interpretationists, presenting both sides in the clear guidance from reporters and editors who know the truth.

The modern view seems to have focused on an objective- cum-interpretative treatment of news. It is interpretative in that good reporters seek related facts and opinions beyond those which merely obtrude at a given moment.

It is objective in that opinions are attributed to sources not stated as facts. Of course, sometimes such a story will displease the extremists on both sides of controversial story.

2. The Inverted Pyramid Story Form:

There is another distinctive characteristic of news writing which is upside down story structure. It raises both literary and ethical questions.

At its best the inverted pyramid is awkward and at its worst it is impossible to understand. Inspite of its handicaps, the inverted pyramid technique is here to stay in the news columns and in a specially adapted form, in the news-casts.

Departures from it may occur frequently, but there are factors which make this inverted pyramid story form or the climax first approach almost necessary for most of the news stories.

Firstly, because the newspaper readers demand to know the latest or the most important developments immediately to decide whether the story warrants full reading or to get the gist of the news in a hurry.

This is because of the paucity of time and increasing demand on reader’s limited time. Secondly, some mechanical problems and time limitations make end of the story climaxes dangerous.

The problems of page make-up and the last paragraph climax may be lost while trimming the story. Supposing the make­up editor notices the deviation, he may have trouble cutting other paragraphs because of transitional approaches to the climax.

In this way, we see that first three paragraphs of a six paragraph inverted-pyramid story can deliver the main points and they will definitely make much better sense than either half of a chronological rendition. Thus there are certain benefits of writing upside down stories using the inverted pyramid technique.

3. The Completeness of a News Story:

Completeness is next characteristic of news story. The news executive always point out the fault of the news reporters for not getting a complete story.

News experts may disagree on how many points are needed in a given story, but a story must be complete to convey a clear meaning.

4. Writing Short Paragraphs:

Writing short paragraphs is a peculiar characteristic of news story. This characteristic might annoy the teachers of English composition who respect good paragraphing.

But short paragraphs are very essential typographically, because an addition of even one word in a galley-proof correction may necessitate resetting of all the remaining lines in the paragraph. It is quite obvious that if there are fewer lines in a paragraph, it can be rest more quickly and easily than a paragraph having more lines.

Sometimes, there may be some late developments in a story for which corrections may have to be done. These corrections can be carried out easily between short paragraphs, whereas carrying out such corrections in the middle of long paragraphs may pose many problems.

There is one more reason for shorter paragraphs that is for better appearance. Generally, the columns of newspapers are only fraction of a page of book or magazine; therefore, shorter paragraphs are necessary for better appearance and appreciation.

5. Adherence to a Style:

Adherence to a set style in reporting is one more characteristic of news writing. If you are referring to a certain name, than its style and spellings should remain the same throughout the report.

For example, you should not write Mr. Vaidyanathan in one sentence and only Vaidyanathan in another sentence. Similarly, you should not write different spellings of the same word like Rakesh Sharma at one place and Rakesh Sarma at another place.

In the same way you should not write 25th at one place and twenty-fifth at another place in the same report.

There should be a uniformity of style throughout the report in such things. Similarly, when you start some word with a capital letter, the same word at another place should not be written starting with a small letter.

Strict adherence to a style increases efficiency, because then the copy editors and proof readers may not have to waste time in changing spellings, capitalisation etc. Adherence to a style-book will also contribute to the personality of the publication.