Very Top Five Skills For Journalists

Did someone not once say "if the pen is mightier than the sword, then journalism is the whetstone"? I'm sure somebody must have done.

Anyways, do you want to check out the skills zone for current trends or indications of paradigm shifts? By the way, if you can use the words 'paradigm shift' without your face sagging into a grimace under the weight of all the sarcasm, then you will make an excellent political journalist.

Journalism is a cavalcade of caustic, Faustian drudgery. It even says that in the dictionary (Any journalists reading this will not check, they'll just copy and paste it and take my citation for granted.)

Journalists have a surprising combination of tenacity and laziness. That is to say, they flatter themselves with the belief that they have the ability to discern the fieriest stories from the misleading, irrelevant and uninteresting chaff. In practice this means they're superciliously scan through a report and make up their 'story' by pouncing on one wildly unpredictable strand and spinning it out to cover three pages.

There are many different types of journalists, from political journalists (who report how terrible politicians are) right through to columnists (who give opinions on how terrible everyone (including politicians) is.). Regardless of what sort of journalist you end up being, you'll need easy mental access to the following grab bag of skills.

5. Headline creation

Headlines are expected to get you to buy the newspaper, and they should hook readers in a punchy way.

Getting the words to rhyme is excellent form, as is including the sentences of puns that would disgrace even the worst sort of dinner party bore. For examine, imagine if John Locke, the philosopher and physician of the 17th century, had been seen wearing a dress. The headline would not say "Locke seen wearing a dress," it would be "LOCKE FROCK SHOCK." And the journalists would go into paroxysms of delight.

4. Misrepresentation

This is most common in areas in which most people do not have an adequate knowledge to evaluate the worth of a concept on their own, such as science, medicine or law. The brilliant thing is that the journalist who's writing the article does not have to understand it either!

Let's say you want to write a story about GM foods, or a pharmaceutical product. All you have to do is find a scientist with a crazy opinion about how long-life cabbages give you brain cancer and present it along conventional conventional wisdom (that they do not) and suggest that these two opinions represent the two leading equally-weighted alternatives in a contentious field, and ta-da! Instant hysteria, and the chance to write dozens of follow-up articles on how YOU, the readers, reacted to hearing the 'news' about cabbages, letters from concerned parents, discussions between experts on the pros and cons of each side of the argument, etc etc.

And you can not be sued for libel even though you have actually invented a scare out of nothing, because, …