When I first decided to become a journalist, I thought it would be a great way to be a writer and make money at it. I’m sure that half a century ago that would have been true. Now, being a journalist requires more than a savvy way with words; now we must diversify.
When I was younger, I often wondered why medical doctors’ yearly salary was so high, and they had to go to school so long. I later learned that besides the wide variety of skills they must learn in their long schooling, they must also keep learning. Half of a medical doctor’s time is researching in the field and understanding new developments in the industry.
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In my first year in my college’s convergent media program and during my time in this internship I discovered that my education will not end when Missouri Western hands me that diploma. Well, if I want to be a successful journalist it won’t. In an ever-changing field, with multiple ever-changing fields impacting my industry (new Internet browsers, advancing cameras, new coding languages, and new mobile and wireless devices) I must stay as informed as a medical doctor on these changes.
The other part of working in an ever-changing field is applying those changes. It’s not enough for a medical doctor to understand new technologies, he must be able to cure his patients with them. Since every publication operates differently, it’s interesting how a weekly web site should operate compared to a daily or even a monthly magazine. At The Griffon News, we still haven’t decided whether we should upload out print content all at once or slowly over the week.
In the past two decades, being a journalist became more difficult and presented a new challenge across the board for staff writers of publications and editors, but it’s always good to be in something from the ground up. Even as journalism turns a new leaf, I’m excited for the path it appears to be taking. Even trying to stay educated on new advancements in the field is a challenge I am eager to meet.
Right now the general public identifies journalists with writers, but journalists must be much more than that. While writing is still one of their skills, the skill set required is diversifying and changing. The more you can do, the better journalists you can be, but quality is still preferred over quantity of skills. Here is what I have learned; educate, diversify, specialize, and apply.