What are the Essential Qualification of a Journalist?



Leading Government employers and journalists, newspaper houses and agencies, publicity and public relations departments of industrial houses, all agree on the essential requirements of the job.

According to them, people having good knowledge of History, Political Science, Economics and Literature, and who are capable of writing lucid, simple prose in a natural manner, and who are well conversant with current events, are more likely to succeed in this line.

Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in this profession, as it helps to make one available for service as a foreign correspondent. Similarly, knowledge of shorthand is an extra qualification, as it enables the newspaper reporters to quote exact words from public speeches, interviews, etc. Elementary knowledge of law and science, is also helpful. Knowledge of photography is an additional asset.


Training in journalism is quite useful. However the art of journalism cannot be taught to a person who is not having the above-mentioned basic requisites so necessary in this line. Journalism is an art which, to some extent, comes as a natural gift, but a young writer does require certain growing to polish his talent. As in all other fields of employment, technical knowledge and diligence applied with commonsense will go a long way in making a successful newspaper man, a competent magazine writer, a successful editor, and so on.

A person aspiring for this profession should make his or her self-assessment on the following lines:

(a) Have I got interest in people as well as in accidental happenings?

(b) Am I fond of knowing who, what, where, when, how and why, of such events as I come across?

(c) Am I able to turn out a well-written story?

(d) Have I got a temperament which allows me to go coolly on with my work in the face of an on-rushing deadline?

In addition to the above mentioned qualities, a successful journalist should be able to take objective and dispassionate view of things, whatever may be his own inclinations and views in the matter.

It is all the more true for news-writing. While a news-writer should take keen interest in the happening, he should not, at the same time be involved in or swayed by it. An editor, of course, enjoys certain freedom in this regard. He can take sides, but the same must be supported by logical reasoning.

In a nutshell, the art of journalism requires an aptitude for perceiving, sorting out and reporting the major happenings around, concerning all classes of people as well as an inclination for interpre­ting and giving an interesting shape to news.

He should be able to reduce in writing the gossip of the villagers, the town-man's chatter and sophisticated talk of the city dweller because of their human interest, news value or for their peculiar or distinct quality which turns a simple incident into an interesting story, if reported well.

Journalists are employed in newspapers and periodicals as reporters, sub-editors, make-up sub-editors, leader-writers, commen­tators, foreign correspondents, assistant editors and editors.