Almost everyone who can read and write sometimes feels the urge to write on some favorite topic. Some people however love writing so much that they spend much of their time writing something on various subjects for the sheer pleasure of writing. Such people usually become skillful writers; and if the ability to write with ease and facility was enough to achieve success in the field of journalism, many people would make journalism their career.
In countries like England and Japan, where there are hundreds of newspapers and journals, journalism is an attractive profession. It is very good source or income to many. But in Malaysia there are so few newspapers and journals that journalism offers almost no prospect of success. Even in England and Japan, however, many people have failed to achieve any success in this field. To be successful in journalism, one must have many other qualities, besides the ability to judge what the average reader likes or dislikes. If one writes for a political journal, he or she should have a fair knowledge of what the readers of that journal expect from it. If one writes for a women’s journal, that person should know almost instinctively what its readers prefer. Accordingly, the journalist should gather information from all possible sources for his articles and stories for publication. He may even have to distort or omit certain facts and information, in which his judgment may appear unpleasant to his readers. Further, if certain unpleasant facts have to be revealed to his readers, he has to employ words with such skill that his readers will take almost no offense. All these require great intellectual qualities.
Besides, to collect information, the journalist has to travel extensively and meet many people, far and near. As too much traveling involve great physical activity, the journalist has to pay sufficient attention to his health to keep himself strong. He has also to cultivate pleasing habits to meet all sorts of people. He must also be prepared to work under very unpleasant circumstances. For example, if he is working for a popular newspaper, he may have to be at the scene or a battle and risk his life to send his report to his newspaper office. All this involves great personal sacrifice.
Finally, a good journalist should have a good grasp of the constitutional rights of the citizens of his country and the policies of his government. He should also know the laws of libel and slander. Ignorance of any or these may lead him to make unfair criticisms and disclosures which may cause serious troubles in the country. Thus, success in journalism is not easy to attain, and only a few people make it their career.
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