What purpose does a reporter really serve? Is it really a service anyway? If it is, then are they there for their superiors, or something greater? In answering these questions, one can come to understand why journalism is a vital part of any democratic society. Knowing this can also help us understand what it takes to be a good reporter.
A reporter’s main purpose is to serve the overall good of the people. They are to be the missing link between the elites of society and the public. For this to happen, reporters need to be objective. They must set aside their own agendas so the truth can shine through in their stories. For objectivity to occur, a journalist must have some core values. These include honesty, sincerity and a critical mind. A journalist must be able to distinguish between fact and fiction. It is crucial that they are capable of looking at the bigger picture when writing their stories.
Many people determine they will never become journalists because they lack one obvious talent, writing. While being able to write is vital to the field of journalism, it is often seen as a much larger part of the story than it really is. When one reads a newspaper, the writing aspect of it is what people primarily see. What is hidden behind the words of a story however, is what really took talent in obtaining. Because the writing aspect of journalism is so obvious, it is usually all readers see. What they look past are all the hours of hunting, gathering and synthesizing the information to build up the content of the piece. The ability to write well is much easier to obtain and perfect than some of the core values discussed earlier. It is a skill that can come with practice. Writing is often seen as a major road block when really it can be just another stepping stone.
So what skills does a person need to possess? They need to have the heart and the drive of a journalist. They must hunger for the truth and have a passion for the people they serve. A good reporter needs to have a critical mind and be able to make critical judgments about some fuzzy topics. These basic virtues are what drive a person to perfect the technical skills such as writing. The way a reporter gets the information across to the public weather it be writing or broadcast news, is just another way for them to express their passion. If the basic building blocks are there deep within a person, the subsequent skill set is sure to follow if worked on.