In any field, it is necessary to constantly update professional knowledge, accumulate experience and solve various problems in order to finally achieve success. Journalism is no exception. Along with the constantly changing world, the news industry is developing every day. Moreover, journalists have to face pressure from a variety of sources: deadlines, busy working environment, crazy schedules, business trips, demanding editors, even more demanding public, not to mention constant risks and the fear of being laid off. Therefore, good journalists must always learn and be prepared for the severities that will definitely occur.
Journalistic Education and Experience
Journalism is a competitive field for graduates and it requires good working experience. To become a professional journalist, you need to have extensive expertise in one field, along with some background in other spheres, such as politics, sociology, economy etc. You also need to be flexible in the process of absorbing new knowledge to constantly improve the quality of your articles and newsletters.
The Demands of a Fast-Paced Environment
There is no time to waste when breaking news happens. To seize the opportunities, journalists are expected to work much longer hours. In a fast-paced environment, journalists have to deal with deadlines, demanding editors, and the pressure of coming up with headlines and stories.
The Pressure of Public Opinion and Misconceptions
Journalism is a challenging field in terms of facing public opinion. People may threaten you, browbeat you and try to sway you using all kinds of methods. Sometimes they just lie about you, loudly and publicly. Your friends feel betrayed when you don’t side with them on a story. People wrongly think that a positive story you’ve written about them presupposes your support, and when you write something that doesn’t meet their expectations, they assume you’ve turned against them. You’re constantly frustrated. People ignore your calls, avoid answering you, use elaborate means to keep you from getting a straight answer to a simple question. All in all, this makes your work even more complicated.
The Dangers and Risks of the Profession
As a good journalist, you must always be prepared for crisis and have confidence to take risks. You need to remember that this profession may be dangerous, but if you love being a journalist and have a sense of responsibility, you should be able to accept various dangers that may occur. For instance, you may have to rush into dangerous places such as stormy areas, flooded regions, war zones etc. These things require you to be very determined and to withstand great pressure.
Physical threats are only the most visible dangers. However, journalists are also facing threats of other nature, such as censorship, political and economic pressure, intimidation, job insecurity and attacks on the protection of journalists’ sources. Unfortunately, in this profession, the desire to explore and report what is happening in the world may result in kidnapping, assault and even death. According to the United Nations, “journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in the world.”
Our world is indeed an increasingly dangerous place for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 42 journalists were killed in 2020, and at least 30 in 2021. Shockingly, in nearly nine out of ten cases, the murderer goes unpunished. Every year, hundreds of journalists are attacked, threatened or harassed. The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index 2021 states that at least 387 journalists were detained worldwide as of December 1st, 2020. CPJ also reports that at least 28 journalists were missing as of December 2020.
The Rewards and Fulfillment of a Career in Journalism
Therefore, you need to be tough and confident enough to work under such a great pressure and complete the assigned tasks well. Journalism is undoubtedly a challenging and demanding profession, requiring dedication, expertise, and a willingness to face significant risks and pressures. However, for those who are truly passionate about the power of the press to inform, enlighten, and effect positive change in the world, journalism offers a uniquely rewarding and fulfilling career path. Through their reporting, journalists have the opportunity to shine a light on important issues, hold powerful institutions accountable, and inspire meaningful dialogue and action. If you have the drive and commitment to succeed in this demanding field, the rewards can be immense, both personally and in terms of the positive impact you can make on the world.
Zhao Xuan, a third-year student, Periodical Press and Web Journalism Department
Anastasia S. Petrovskaya, trainee teacher, proofreader
Maya Huryanava, a second-year student, Periodical Press and Web Journalism Department, web-editor