Most often, becoming a reporter itself is a dream come true for many. As the honeymoon period starts in your reporting career, make the best out of it as a cub reporter to make your transition from a trainee to a full-time employee smooth.
In most organisations, you need to figure out the tricks of the trade yourselves. If you are lucky, you might find a mentor to guide you. If not, don't worry, CareerIndia presents you with the set of steps that you must follow to become a professional reporter.
Create A Professional Network
What better way can there be than networking to grapple teething troubles? Identify your counterparts. The trick of this trade is to make friends with your enemies. Ideally, two channels or newspapers who are competitors can act as nurturing elements if the reporters are friends with each other. This will not affect the company as having friends at a competitor company is a sign of strength and not weakness.
Usually, there are two types of stories - news and special stories. News is defined as an outbreak or occurence of events that are reported as they happen. Such news can be covered by anyone. Whereas, a special story is something that strikes only a creative mind.
So, sharing news pegs with fellow reporters will only help and can never be a disadvantage. Also, a professional contact can help you in various ways. You can wait to discover those ways yourself as you move deeper into your career. For now, socialise and make friends with every other reporter you meet at events.
Look For Every Possible Detail On The Field
Say, the news is about a martyr's death. You will obviously be writing about it. But you, as a reporter must keep all your senses alert and open all the while. Look for other story ideas like writing about the unrevealed story of the martyr through a relative's point of view or stories about the unknown side of defence personnel or hidden truths in their profession.
There is always more than one story hidden at every event. All you have to do is get your brains active and keep your senses open to keep picking story ideas.
Establish Contact With Even The Gatekeeper
Picking up story ideas can happen actively when you talk to a lot of people. While you make connections with the obvious people who are protagonists of an event, also make an effort to connect with the non-creamy layer who can act as an important source for breaking news.
Gatekeepers, peons and other clerical people are those who have access to the daily lives of people and can tip you on important events if you get the knack of making friends with them.
Be Tech Savvy
Yes, do not underestimate the power of technology even though you are making a lot of real-life connections. Given that this is an era of burgeoning social media, digital journalism is the trend of the epoch. So, it is important for you to keep a check on what's happening on the internet to know what people like to read currently and the breaking news alerts.
In addition, using and learning of digital tools to get data and promote your articles is the new smart way of thriving in your career as a reporter. A word of caution - make sure whatever you share online is 100% verified news because just as your popularity online spreads like fire, a mistake too has the power to be known virally. So exercise utmost precaution while sharing news.
Read A Lot Of Newspapers Everyday
Apart from the internet news that you see, reading newspapers is a key job responsibility as you get to see the in-depth coverage of news on papers. Reading papers increases your knowledge manifold in addition to your on-site learning experiences. Also, it helps you to plan your day's stories accordingly.
Get Help From All Possible Seniors
Despite all your efforts as a fresher, there will definitely be a point when you desperately need help or go out of story ideas. This is the time when you must not sulk but reach out to reliable seniors for help. Seniors in some organisations will not help just because they learnt it the hard way and would not like to give out their lores to you easily.
You might have to get out and make connections with seniors from other organisations and reach for their help. The key behaviour to become a successful reporter is this - never be shy to ask anything to anybody. "You will either be denied or given information, there is not going to be any greater loss, so ask anyway!"