Journalism is a very popular subject for students all across the United States especially I this age of high speed news and communication. Because of the growing number of journalists out there, it is very important that you do all that you can to stand out and become a great journalist, rather than just one of the crowd. We spoke with local Boston journalist James DeVellis on what attributes a great journalist should have.
A sensational story is great but only if it is true and it will be your responsibility to drive to the heart of the truth. For example we often hear false allegations of misconduct in certain areas of society which would certainly make a story that people will want to read. If however the allegations are false it is on you to find out for sure. In this age of ‘fake news’ you must be able to stand by what you have investigated and written as truth.
You must have passion for journalism if you are going to one day become a great. Without the required passion you will not want to put in the time and effort that is required from you in order to produce the most accurate and readable stories. In your primary years in the business you may be asked to do al manner of jobs which have nothing to do with getting your own scoop, so you must love the job enough to go through some pain before getting your chance.
There may very well be a moment in the future when you get your own column but for now you will have to be flexible enough to write about a variety of subjects, especially if you’re working in local press. For example one day you could be writing about a fox that is causing havoc for farmers, and the next you could be writing about A woman who voluntarily helps out the homeless. The news is widely varied and it will be up to you to be able to turn your hand to a variety of topics.
When going after information you must display a real tenacity to find out absolutely everything that you are able to. There is a fine line between tenacity and overstepping the boundaries in your pursuit of a story, so you must understand where the line begins and ends.
What really sets the greatest journalists aside from the rest of the bunch is not only their ability to find a great story, but also to write it in the most captivating way possible. The greatest journalists are those who are also the best writers, and who can breath a story into life with their word delivery.
If you want to be a great journalist, these are the bare minimum attributes which you will need.