How To Become A Journalist – Exploring A Career In Journalism, is the gripping narrative of a feisty young NDTV Journalist Rashmi Mann.
What is Journalism? What is it like to pursue a career in Journalism? How to become a Journalist? What does it really take?
These are some questions that aspiring Journalists can get exclusive and insightful answers to, by tuning into this detailed account.
Her narrative is about grit, determination and following your dreams. Read on!
“Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it.”
– Horace Greeley
Video Story: How To Become A Journalist – Exploring A Career In Journalism
The Road To Making A Career In Journalism
Rashmi Mann studied at the Lawrence School Sanawar and travelled all around the country owing to her father’s transferable job as a Pilot in the Indian Air Force. After high school she went on to study Psychology at Gargi College, Delhi University and then made a big switch, to join the NDTV Media Institute.
Not holding a Journalism Degree, did not deter her plans to pursue her passion and she realised having gone to Journalism school isn’t a pre-requisite to being a successful Journalist. While holding a professional degree could significantly help, being a Journalist was something that could hardly be taught in books. What is essential is an intrinsically inquiring mind, being passionate about knowledge, learning and doing whatever it takes to get to the truth behind a story.
During her training and subsequent Journalism internships, she further realised that the industry is very hands on and that most people learnt on the job.
She also discovered that although glamorous on the outside, a Journalist’s life is full of struggles. But she was determined to take on any challenges that came her way. And thus she set out on her journey to become a Reporter.
After her production stint ended, she decided to do what most of us think of, but most often don’t do, going after what we want.
She took the plunge and went ahead to speak to her boss about her interest in being a Reporter.
On clearing the requisite test, she finally got the opportunity to do what she wanted,
taking off her rose-tinted glasses, going out into the field, seeing the ground realities and making a difference in the world.
“There are many challenges, as women, people feel you cannot go to A particular place or B particular place. But I do not let that deter me.
If a woman could cover war in Kargil, I was a little child and Burkha did that, then women can go do anything. It’s just us who set limitations for ourselves, and we have to not succumb to those limitations.”
Career In Journalism – A Day In The Life Of A News Reporter
Her journey since has been truly enthralling and she shares how it has changed her perspective entirely. Reading about death and destruction in the news every day and feeling pensive is one thing, being next to a survivor, feeling their pain and covering their story is another.
“My bubbles break every day. You just take off your rose tinted glass and you’re right there, doing your story and you come to know so much. You feel a sense of satisfaction when your story goes out there and is seen by people, your story makes sense, and your story makes a little bit of a difference in the world, and it does!”
Researching and reporting heart-wrenching incidents of rapes, murders, calamities, requires courage and is not a job for the weak hearted.
Journalism is no 9-5 job. In her story, she describes average day into her life where she works for over 12 hours, often without having a sip of water and on a hungry stomach, several times on major festivals, many-a-times at remote places with no sanitation, and yet, she truly loves her job!
“You may not have eaten all day but you are out there in the field and you are doing something meaningful, you have the adrenalin rush which actually keeps you going. So the advantages and disadvantaged of the job somehow work together.”
What Is Journalism – One word, Hustle
A journalist’s job description is something that cannot be summed up in a few bullet points or KRAs.
Rashmi has always been very multi-dimensional with varying interests in the fields of Art, Fitness Training, Dance and even Theatre. Being an artist at heart, she often finds herself retreating to this world of hers after a hard day at work.
“As a journalist, you go through such situations where you see the darkest side of human beings, you see people lying on the ground sick, and you can smell their sickness. People don’t realize that when they see us on TV. They feel it is very hunky dory, but coming on television is perhaps not even 10% of my job, most of it is the real thing, most of it is being THIS close to reality. “
Journalism is about hustling every day, meeting sources, doing extensive research, getting to the root of the matter, doing lives and reporting ground realities with aplomb.
Every day is a challenge and experience of pursuing Journalism as a career is unlike any other.
News Reporting for a leading channel like NDTV especially requires a different level of commitment and hard work.
It can seem like a gruelling job, and it often is, but for those who have a quest for the truth and passion to make a difference, it is worth it.
“I don’t have too much time for myself anymore, there are situations where I do not have toilets around me, I am working on a hungry stomach, no water around me, I’m tired, my body starts acting out, but it hardly matters.
You may not have eaten all day, but you’re out there, doing your story, and the adrenaline rush keeps you going.”
A Word Of Advice: How To Become A Journalist
She offers expedient advice for aspiring Journalists, how it’s pertinent to actually go out there, research on what’s making news, do some personal reporting leveraging the digital channels these days, like YouTube, Vimeo, Vines etc.. and actually get a taste of what it takes, as that is the future.
In today’s world when citizen journalism is on the rise and an increasing number of plebiscites are actively contributing to news and information, anyone can make a difference, he so chooses.
The power a smartphone places in the hands of a regular citizen is immense, and aspirants must leverage technology to get hands on with the world of Journalism.
Setting the example is a 10-year-old girl from Palestine, Janna Jihad Ayyad, who counts herself as the youngest journalists in the world. She started making videos at the age of 7 because she thought there was a paucity of Journalists sending their message to the world. She has 22,000 followers on Facebook and hopes to someday work for BBC.
Thus, aspirants must do some personal reporting on their own. They must go out there, see what’s happening, study the developments and simply go ahead to make a blog or vlog out of it.
Candidates do not need to go to a particular Journalism school, or perhaps do a particular course to start off in the media industry. It’s an extremely hands on industry, with immense scope to learn on the field.
“Too much thought before doing what your heart tells you to do, or before taking a chance isn’t right. You have to take chances, you have to take risks, the risk of perhaps going out there and speaking to the right person, just like I did.”
Top 10 Colleges For A Lucrative Career In Journalism
If your interest in Journalism piques early on and you have the opportunity to get a professional degree in Journalism, then it may be a good idea to start there. While a formal degree isn’t a prerequisite as in Rashmi’s case, it can certainly help set you up for a great start in the field of Journalism. Based on your location, preference and aptitude, you can consider the following best colleges for a Journalism degree:
- Asian College of Journalism, Chennai
- AJ Kidwai Mass Comm Research centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
- Xavier’s Institute Of Communication
- IIJNM Bangalore
- SIMC, Pune
- Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam
- NDTV Media Institute
- Times School of Journalism, New Delhi
Recommended Online courses:
So, interested in a career in journalism? Want to add your insights to this story or have more questions regarding how to become a journalist? Write-in to us in comments. We’d love to hear from you!