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Why Journalism still Matters

Why Journalism still Matters

Facebook and Instagram are not how you can help change the world. It’s Journalism, and here’s why. By Natasha MH

The Panama Press fiasco that recently headlined across the world has certainty brought some excitement back into journalism. But for many years, educational institutions saw a decline of interest in studying journalism as many reporters and photojournalists were reported missing, kidnapped by terrorists, or worse, killed in conflicted territories. When US journo James Foley was interviewed after surviving his first detainment for 44 days in 2011 by Gaddafi loyalist forces, he said being a journalist gave him the strength to endure his condition, “You go through different emotions when you’re in captivity… These weird extreme ideas of where you are based on this capture. You don’t want to be defined as that guy who got captured in 2011. I believe front line journalism is important [without it] we can’t tell the world how bad it might be.” Foley’s death in 2014 at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) was brutal but his legacy was a profound reminder of why it still matters be a journalist, the passion and determination required in the pursuit of being one. Journalism is a life-changing course. Here’s a take on what you need to know about becoming a journalist – and why it’s still awesome.

The job scope of a journalist is endless. A journalist is like a chameleon. One can adapt to many situation and thus, easily migrate into any other areas of expertise because of the skill set you acquire that are useful in almost every type of industry: a fast-learner, penmanship, savvy in research, exposed to high-pressured and stressful conditions, confident with a high level of communication skills and a prolific reader. Weakness, you ask? Journalists are not fashionable people. That would be the least of their concern. However, Anderson Cooper has changed that perception.

Journalism is not just about writing, but your versatility in writing. Journalists are people who love writing not as a form of therapy, but as a way to bridge communities with the rest of the world. Writing acts as a medium of understanding the world we live in. Journalists are skilled with the necessary writing skills to educate the mass and to keep us informed with what is happening. The next time you read the news, think of how you are obtaining this piece of information. Someone reported it. Journalists are the ones who literally journey to ground zero when everyone else is escaping it when a disaster strike, be it at Fukushima surrounded by deadly radiation, Bandar Aceh after the devastating tsunami, and New York after the September 11 attack. It’s not danger that brought them there, but their passion for writing. To inform and protect the public is what got them to ground zero and that takes courage.

Journalism is risk-taking, but no more dangerous than the odds of 1 out of 1,200 people being struck by lightning and 1 in 3.4 million people being killed in a plane crash. Journalists are brave people who are willing to take risks because they are passionate in making a difference in people’s lives. Knowledge is key and journalists are courageous because they find it their mission to educate the public in order to enrich and empower societies. As a result, journalists are often successful as team leaders, motivation speakers and powerful advocates of social awareness. They are the movers and shakers of the world.

The world is your office. Journalists will tell you they hate being stuck in an office because nothing happens within a solitary confinement. They go where the action is, and so journalists are powerful players in any organization because they are willing to venture into unknown territories and write about it, to give voices to the marginalised, and to discover areas beyond our comfort zones. Their writings may be within 5 columns or a few pages, but their adventures extend beyond cities and communities which make them highly knowledgeable, avid learners and prolific readers. Companies love hiring people with journalism expertise because they are willing to question ideas, provide critical analyses, be creative and imaginative and above all, are seasoned travellers.

In short, it is difficult to say a journalist is merely a professional writer belonging to a magazine, newspaper or a broadcast center. A journalist is skilful enough to take on any occupation; confident to lead or manage businesses; and passionate to take on challenging projects knowing it will help improve people’s lives. So if you think you’ve got what it takes to be a journalist, take the leap and let a whole new world open up for you. You are definitely going to change the world.

image from www.slate.com

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