Newspapers still remain the largest mass media vehicle
lifestyle Journalism is perceived to be the most glamourous news beat, with journalists attending fashion shows, interviewing celebrities to writing feature and creative stories
Print is one of the earliest forms of journalism in India, and the publication of the first newspaper, ‘The Bengal Gazette’, dates back to as early as 1780. Newspapers, magazines and tabloids are published daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly and distributed to millions of people across the country. One such publication comprises several well-written, researched stories, features articles and editorial columns.
“According to me journalists are as important as doctors and soldiers in the country as they are the fourth estate of the Indian democracy and act as watchdogs for the government,” says Arpit Batura, a third year student of the University of Delhi.
Mohammad Ghazali, a correspondent with Hindustan Times, Punjab, says, “The first thing I do in the morning is to go through at least six newspapers and then look for stories which probably missed my attention. After that I talk to my sources and visit most the district secretariat. Being the only reporter in my district I have to keep a tab on all the government departments which run in the district.”
How does it work?
A publication, before reaching the reader, goes through many phases. A reporter first pitch in story ideas to his/her editor, covers breaking news, speaks with sources, collects data and writes a story. Photographers go out and click photos relevant to the story. The reporter then gives the story to the copy-editor/sub-editor for language and grammatical corrections. The copy-editor cleans the copy and sends it for design. The design team then designs a page with stories, including pictures, from different reporters using software like QuarkXPress, Adobe Indesign, etc. and several such pages are finally sent for publication to the printing press. And it’s all a day’s work! Monthly or weekly publications have a little more time to write stories, therefore, making the stories slightly more research-oriented and extensive.
What do you do?
The roles of print journalists are quite evident by now. A print journalist working for a newspaper or a magazine can be a reporter, writer, copy-editor, photographer, etc. Newspapers nowadays also prefer copy-editors to have knowledge of design software.
To be a sports journalist, try to specialize in some sport but at the same time keep a close eye on everything happening in the world of sports
According to me journalists are as important as doctors and soldiers in the country as they are the fourth estate of the Indian democracy
The nature of a print job, compared to electronic, is somewhat less demanding as the news does not have to be broken immediately. “As newspapers have a day or more to gather extensive information on a topic, written articles are more detailed and analytical in nature. There is no limited time-frame to narrate the major key points of an event,” says Gaurav Bhatt, another journalist with Hindustan Times.
Required skill sets
Print is for those who have a flair for writing and are extremely well-versed with current affairs and the subject of their area as writing about a topic in a paper would mean including all the angles of the story. To sum it up, publications look for journalist with the following qualities:
Strong written and oral communication skills; an ability to explain issues in simple language
Quick attention to news, current affairs, and people
Impeccable and correct spelling, and grammar
What is being taught?
All journalism colleges teach students the basics of writing, interviewing and publishing stories at the graduate level. However, postgraduate institutions like Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Manorama School of Communication, Asian College of Journalism, S. Naidu School of Art and Communication, etc. have more specialized courses in print.
After completion of the course, students move to work with either magazines, newspapers or other publications depending on their interest and calibre. According to the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2013 of Media Research Users Council (MRUC), Dainik Jagran topped the list of the most widely read newspapers of India, with around 16 million readers in 2013. The national Hindi daily was followed by Dainik Bhaskar, Malayala Manorama, Rajasthan Patrika, Times of India and other regional newspapers. Times of India, Hindustan Times, the Hindu, and the Mumbai Mirror were the other newspapers in the list.
There are numerous magazines and journals in different specializations ranging from politics to fashion. Economic and Political Weekly, Time Magazine Asia, Business Today, Outlook, Open, Tehelka, are weekly journals and magazines circulated in India. Conde Nast Traveller, Vogue, The Caravan are the popular monthly magazines while Sarita and Greh Shobha are popular fortnightlies. So options are aplenty for an aspiring print journalist.
1. Political Journalism – The basic role of Political correspondents is to cover elections, governance, the democratic process and preparing political reports, etc .across the country and the world. Pratik Mukane, a political journalist with DNA newspaper, says, “At large, a role can be divided into two: A) administrative coverage and B) party-wise coverage. A person covering administrative part usually covers issues related to policies, project, decisions and day-to-day activities of government.”
Colleges like ACJ and IIJNM provide electives in the domain. However, academic studies is not the only prerequisite, one must have an eye for political news, and be up-to-date. “If one is working at the state level, then he/she must know about various political parties (including party history), their functioning style, leaders, roles played by them in the society etc,” says Pratik. One has to spend sleepless nights working during major events like elections.
Generally senior journalists with a few years of experience are assigned to cover the beat. However, a knowledgeable and skilled newbie can also do so. A fresher can earn Rs. 18,000 to 30,000 per month.
2. Business Journalism – This is a beat that gathers, assesses, analyzes and reports on economic affairs. A business journalist covers fields like finance, business organizations, market trend and stock markets. Siddhant Mishra, Sub Editor with the Hindu Business Line says, “Working on business stories is different from general news in the way that one needs to have an idea of the background of the particular industry and latest developments. Maintaining terms and making contacts with people involved in various industries and people of high repute is needed”.
A budding business journalist generally has a cut above the rest in remuneration. A good organization can pay an inexperienced business journalist between Rs. 22,000 and 40,000 per month. Many organizations specialize in business news including Reuters, Bloomberg TV, Business Standard, etc.
3. Sports Journalism – This beat is recommended for those who have a passion for sports. Journalists either cover a particular sport like cricket, football, or report on any and every sports news from Dhoni’s retirement to Saina Nehwal’s Padma Bhushan row. Abhishek Chaudhary, Sports Editor, Novosol Mobile Magic Pvt. Ltd says, “Try to specialize in some sports but keep a close eye on everything happening in the world of sports. Also, if someone has played sports at any level, it is easier for him/her to perceive things happening in the arena.”
Several colleges offer electives in sports journalism. However, knowledge of sports and good writing/ editing skills are needed if you are on desk and reporting skills if you are on field. A sports journalist earns as much as any other journalist in the beginning.
4. Lifestyle Journalism – This is perceived as the most glamorous beat of all. “It is for those who have excellent creative writing skills and can think out of the box to write unique and catchy lifestyle stories. You do need a lot of contacts in the showbiz but that can be done on the job,” says Shefali Aggarwal, a lifestyle journalist with a leading daily.
Almost all news organizations, especially newspapers, have lifestyle supplement that cover a wide range of stories- from interviews, celebrity news, movie reviews, to page 3 events. A fresher here, earns Rs. 18,000-30,000 per month on an average.