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Most people are familiar with this job, after all we see enough newspapers and magazines and so on!
A journalist is essentially a news reporter, gathering stories, judging their news worthiness, then writing them up in a way that is at once factual and easy to read, communicating the key points to the reader, often in a brief and punchy format.
As such, you will need very good research and writing skills. Shorthand is a good extra asset.
You will also need to be tenacious in pursuing your story and not be put off early - journalists often get bad reputations for being aggressive and single minded in the pursuit of a story.
You will need to be prepared to be patient, work long hours, and often hang around doing very little. There are many mundane stories to cover but also some grizzly ones from time to time, so you must be emotionally stable and able to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.
You should also be able to adjust your style to the house style, and try to write in a factual and non-subjective (that is objective) manner.
You may start off near the bottom of the chain as there is no golden ticket in, though graduates with experience of student newspapers may find themselves with a mainstream paper rather quickly these days.
You will almost certainly need to have attended a journalism course in most countries to be able to get a job in journalism.
Competition is tough, so you must be determined, confident and able to hold your own. This is not a job for shrinking violets!
Whilst many people are journalists, only few will reach the top, leaving many frustrated scratching around on low salaries for twenty years reporting about the latest cat stuck up a tree shocker.
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