Personal Skills

Beyond the job requirements of earning a qualification in journalism and specializing in a field or niche, it's important that individuals being or develop the soft-skills below in order to become successful journalists.

Diligence
Journalism requires diligence when conducting research and inquiries. Many journalists will be required to research a high amount of sources, which can be time consuming. Without this work ethic skill, it's difficult to be successful in the field.

Flexibility
While specializing in a field can open doors, specializing in more than one field or being able to write effectively in a variety of fields can open thousands of doors. All journalists will need to be flexible in order to have plenty of job opportunities.

Communication
Journalists need to be able to communicate effectively. This skill is necessary for typical work in the field such as conducting interviews and will carry over to writing. Reporters also need to effectively convey their ideas so that their audience may understand what they are trying to say.

Creativity
Journalists need to be creative. This often means providing a new spin on a topic. This skill can also help journalists find solutions to challenges.

Logic
All journalists are investigators; therefore, they must follow the laws of logic. Sometimes, journalists will need to follow logic in order to deduce facts about a story.

Teamwork
Journalists need to be able to work on a team and sort out their problems. Often, projects are carried out in groups, and journalists need to possess purpose, endurance and perseverance when problems arise. Other times, editors can be difficult on journalists, and they need to be able to possess the personal skills to deal with these types of issues.

Readiness to Learn
Journalists need to keep up to date with information not only in their field but on publication techniques. The world of publishing is always evolving and having a successful career means being able to adapt to change.

Articulateness
All journalists need to be able to articulate effectively. Many are phenomenal writers but struggle with public speaking. Because a large part of journalism requires social interaction, being able to articulate effectively is an important skill.

Sense of Responsibility
Journalists have a responsibility to report facts. They should also maintain their integrity and avoid dramatizing a story. Other times, this means respecting the wishes of others to be off the record.

A qualification in journalism will give individuals a foundation of fundamental skills such as writing to be successful in the field. Students will also have valuable advice from those in profession and will be far more likely to be recruited for a job than those without a qualification. Some believe that the art of reporting is best learned in the field and can't be studied. For instance, some have argued it would be more valuable for a student interested in becoming a foreign correspondent in Italy to study the Italian language and culture. However, a journalism qualification will open the door to jobs in the field, and individuals in the work field will already know the basics of writing and have a leg up on competition. Job experience and knowledge are important, but without the capacity to write effectively, it's unlikely people will listen.

Return to Journalism Education.