A couple of months ago, I attended a blogger’s meet up here in Auckland. One of the comments made during a discussion got me thinking about how I view journalism and define journalist. After a bit of back and forth, I tweaked my definition of both terms. But especially of journalist.
My definition is a bit broader than merely a reporter (whether of the newspaper, television, radio, or magazine variety). Instead, I view a journalist as someone who chronicles a point in time or an event that takes place during that point in time. And that can be a reporter, an essayist, a blogger, a podcaster, or all of the above.
On top of that, a journalist is someone who writes with a combination of objectivity and subjectivity. While objectivity is the goal of any journalist, it’s hard for anyone to be truly objective. Their own biases creep in no matter how hard they try. But a good journalist keeps those biases to minimum and does his or her best to keep them out of their work.
The key to being a journalist for me is to truthfully and accurately describe a space in time. And describe it in an interesting, compelling, and thought provoking way.
Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.
Photo credit: Moriel
A few years ago, I read a very interesting blog post titled “Think Like a Five-Year Old”. The thrust of the post was that we all really need to ask that one annoying yet probing question that all children ask: why?
This is especially true for writers. We have to constantly question information we receive. We have to constantly try to dig deeper to get more information or a better quote or an interesting angle on a subject.
And the best way to do that is to ask why? Asking that question forces someone to stop and think. It forces them to move away from the pat answer, or the answer they’d been spouting without thinking, and to actually consider what they’re saying.
If everything aligns properly, the person you’re talking to will pause to think and give you a better, more detailed answer. That’s not always the case, though. There have been times when I’ve asked why? and the reply has been either an empty stare or a mumbled, evasive answer.
As writers, we do more than just write. Whether we realize it or not. Many of us have a number of skills that relate to and go beyond writing.
Regardless, there are a number of skills that every writer should consider developing. Why? They might not make you a better writer, but they’ll make you a more well-rounded one. On top of that, by picking up those skills you’ll be able to do more things yourself and save yourself some time and maybe even some money.
And you don’t need to be a techie, or a hardcore technical communicator, to learn those skills. Or to put them into practice.
Let’s take a look at a few skills that can complement your writing quite nicely.