Career Path What's Your Career?

A Day in the Life of a Journalist

When it comes to journalism, one can expect a lot of writing and reporting. Dontae Matthews, an experienced Journalist, mentions that it is much more than just writing and reporting. In fact, he wears the hat of writer, producer and presenter/ broadcast journalist at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS). According to Career Explorer, a journalist investigates, collects, and presents information as a news story. This can be presented through newspapers, magazines, radio, television and any other communication channel. Similar to Law, Teaching or Medicine, there are different categories of Journalism that one can choose based on their area of interest such as a Sports Journalist, Entertainment Journalist, Investigative Journalist, Political Journalist or other.

Qualities You Must Have to Become a Journalist

As one can imagine, to become a journalist, you must be a lover of writing and oftentimes speech and diction. Dontae Matthews also points out that you must be a people person. This means you must enjoy interacting with others notwithstanding age, race, gender or class. He adds that one will need to love researching and asking a lot of questions as those skills are crucial in getting the job done.

How to Become a Journalist

English courses are pertinent in pursuing a career in journalism so Matthews advises students to pay attention to courses such as English Language, English Literature, Information Technology and History from the high school level. After high school, one must move on to pursue a 3-4 year degree programme in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Journalism. This degree may cost between 1-2 million Jamaican dollars across universities in Jamaica but can be supplemented by several scholarship opportunities available based on the university of choice.

Benefits of Being a Journalist

Since a career in Journalism requires a lot of interaction, it comes as no surprise that Matthew’s highlight of a benefit comes under the ability to meet and greet persons from all walks of life which presents a great networking opportunity. He also adds that the joy of telling someone’s story is indescribable.

One Challenge Associated With Being a Journalist

There are a few challenges associated with this career path, but the most distinct is working with sources. Writing a story requires working with sources. Sources are persons who have first-hand access to the topic, be it a witness or an authoritative figure. Each story needs to have sources to increase its importance and credibility; however, sources do not always co-operate or make themselves available to be interviewed.


Books You Can Read to Grow as a Journalist

To gain knowledge about a career in Journalism, Matthews encourages reading books about the fundamentals of writing, investigative journalism and most importantly the newspapers! As a Journalist, it helps to be socially aware as that may help your ability to write and follow up on stories.

Advice for Students

“Do not give up on your studies. Continue reading, studying and discover your WHY. Ensure journalism is something you love and your qualities fit well within what is required. Even if you do not match the profile, remember, you can always work on yourself. Don’t count yourself out. You are more than capable.”

Watch the full interview here: What s Your Career Video Series – Journalist – Dontae Matthews

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