Monday, 30 July 2012

What do Journalists do? All in a day’s work

What do journalists do?  In my previous article ‘What do Journalists do? An Introduction to their Job, we ran through the various contexts of production and workload that influence the work profiles of media personnel. I shall assume that you have already formed a basic idea about what they do daily.

Now – broadly speaking, sorry, broadly blogging – ‘journalist’ is a loose term to describe a professional who works in an organization that provides news information to the public. Meaning, you have different and various types of journalists:
  • Reporting Journalists (or news reporters)
  • Production Journalists

Now you get the idea: The type a journalist is, also means that his work profile would be different from another type in terms of workload, nature of profile, and assignment.

To make easier the job of understanding what a Journalist actually does daily, let us examine the work profiles of some of the main information-disseminating personnel in news organizations. The job is far less glamorous I tell you.  

What do Reporting Journalists / News Reporters do?

Primarily, the role of a reporting journalist is to collect and disseminate information about current events, people, trends, and issues – and/or anything of current interest, or people would be interested in reading about.

Put simply (and I have no doubt you already know this one) a reporter researches and presents information in certain formats of mass media – print (newspapers), broadcast (television and radio) or online (new through the Internet). So his job, basically, includes:

  • Gathering facts (Interviewing people, confirming the occurrence of a reported event, visit place of event, confirm statements or witnesses’ accounts etc. The idea is to gather materials to make it into a "story", i.e., a news report)

  • 'Record' the gathered information in a written form (compose and write down report; list event and statements associated with the event into a narrative form)
  • Submit story to editor
  • Story is published (after the editor has approved it. The editing process involves crosschecking for factual errors, grammatical errors, contextual inconsistencies etc) 
The job also naturally means a reporter with a good nose is an indispensable asset; to smell a story out of nothing. A candidate needs to be innovative, creative, active and enterprising and yes, courageous.

Being a very-high-stress career itself, journalism is not for every bright-eyed lad that walks into a newspaper or a television news channel with a CV. Few stick long enough to actually earn respect as a journalist.

Basic job description of Production Journalists  

Production Journalists are the ones that turn your ugly toads into Page-3 princesses. They are the
  • Editor-in-chief / Managing Editor 
  • Sub-Editors (Asia) or copy editors (UK, US)
  • Proofreaders
  • Designers
  • Photo editors,
  • Best Practice managers,
  • Video editors,
  • Graphics / layout designers,
  • Webmasters

and all such personnel specializing in certain areas of technical production.

What do they do? In the modern Media corporate, production journalists are some of the highest-paid skill-and-resource workforce. 

They are the managers, the tweakers and the management chiefs. The ones that make sure that the facts in your story are accurate, comprehensible and systematic. They are the section that edits your stories and make sure your English sounds civilized enough. They are the creative eyes that make your 2-pixel photographs look like Ciril Jazbec’s magnum opus.

They are the ones that directly oversee day-to-day operations of the newsroom. They make sure the photographs personify the story perfectly; that the unnecessary are banished to the dustbin; that the stories fulfill the demands of accuracy and comprehension; that the uncertain shades are blacked or whitened. The production guys are the nerds, the tweakers, the horned-rimmed glasses, the hamburger cool millennialS.

Of all, editorial personnel function as the second pair of eyes that look for something not visible in a story.

They are professionals with specialized skills and expertise in various areas of media production such as:
  • Language and editing,
  • Designing,
  • Analysis
  • Experts in multimedia / technological applications etc

Generally, there are no hard stipulations on working hours for production journalists. Their working hours are counted from whence they began work, as their skills are applied only as a production effort, for instance, after reports have been filed by reporters.

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

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