What are the Basic Skills that Every Journalist Must Learn?

Journalism is more than telling stories. Journalists have to adapt to each platform where they choose to present news. As such, journalists have to be skilled at many things like writing, editing, interviewing, copyediting, research, etc.

If you are doing MA journalism, you may be interested in knowing what skills every journalist must-have.

1. Interviewing

The art of interviewing is one of the most desirable skills in every journalist as it is crucial in telling impactful stories. Interviewing is a tool for exploring multiple opinions, verifying information, collecting information, etc. Journalism skills are a lot more than mere questioning. Journalists need additional skills like research, active listening, the ability to argue or hold a narrative, etc. for doing an interview. All these multiple layers make interviewing one of the most challenging, and as a result, most sought-after skills in journalists.

2. Writing

Another major skill in journalism is writing well. Journalists need to master written communication for all types of media- from scripts for podcasts to social media posts or opinion pieces. Journalists also need to have perfect knowledge of grammar. They must know how to use language to write compellingly and clearly, simplifying complex topics for the audience while adhering to a formal style guide and narration.

3. Digital Journalism

As our world is transforming into a digital one, and the increasing number of people turning to digital media for news, skills for digital journalism are indispensable today. Journalists must know how to use digital tools for connecting with a wider audience on different social media platforms. Twitter will need different skills than writing a blog or making a post on Facebook. Digital journalism on Instagram will be more image-based than others. To excel in digital platforms, journalists need to be creative and critical to serve their target audience.

Few examples of digital journalism may be Live streaming on Twitter, or IGTV video on Instagram, transforming a spreadsheet into visually compelling charts or images for different platforms, editing videos, etc.

4. Investigative reporting

Investigative reporting is crucial in driving change and ensuring accountability in the public. It is one of the most essential things in a democracy. Investigative reporting is done to address wrongdoings in society and in exposing potentially dangerous news to people. Therefore, it is a highly valued skill in journalists.

5. Video journalism

Video journalism skills are essential for a world that is transitioning into a digital one. Today’s journalists need to be proficient in all the social media platforms and learn to navigate them to produce quality content on the web. Video skills in journalists are a great plus for developing good narratives, to shooting and editing those videos. Digital media is essential for watching the news– a reporter reading the news out and viewers getting to watch edited video footage. There are as many viewers watching the news as reading them.

6. Editing

Editing skills are highly beneficial in journalism and journalists should learn how to critically evaluate their work. Copyediting is a very desirable skill in journalists of presenting news in short and crisp language. Copy editing skills include accuracy, clarity, appropriate tone, grammatical correctness.

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