I can’t think of a career path that requires a greater variety of skills than journalism.
Really, I can’t.
Coming into the J school, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In my cloud of unbridled naivete, I assumed I would write. That’s it. I would find something to write about and write about it. Maybe I’d have to read once in a while, but I’ll just be writing,
While writing is undoubtedly crucial to the success of a journalist, a typical day consists of much, much more.
First, and I would argue most importantly, you have to be a great communicator.
Sound vague? Well, it is, and I wanted it to be.
As a journalist, you have to be able to communicate through any medium; it is just as important to be able to talk to somebody face-to-face as it is to write on your computer or conduct a phone interview. With the constant and rapid expansion of social media, we now have to communicate through other mediums, like Twitter and Facebook as well.
Compounding this, it is important to have skills in popular softwares, like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop.
So what does this all mean?
Instead of sitting around writing all day like I expected, I am constantly networking, interviewing, learning new technologies, and, of course, writing.
A problem, then, is time management. As a full time student with other priorities, it is nearly impossible to master each element of successful journalism, so you have to wisely choose which to practice the most.
Which is where I’d like to propose my question:
What do you think is the single most important aspect to a journalist’s professional life? That is to say, which area of expertise do you think should be most heavily emphasized?
Let me know in a comment or answer the poll; I’d love to hear your thoughts!