Name: Denzil Lewis
Designation: Editor @WATBlog
Since when have you been in the field of journalism/reporting?
I have been blogging for more than a year now. I used to work in social media as a content writer and then I took to blogging because of my love for technology and the web. Since, WATMedia already had a blog which deal with these topic, I took up blogging for it. I became the blog’s Editor last year in March/April.
What are the skills required to be a responsible journalist?
Strong Ethics and clear writing – A journalist owes it to the world to deliver truthful information to their readers. A blogger is no different. You have to take particular care to produce bias-free written material and not be taken in by emotion while writing. If you have a strong emotional connect with the piece you are writing, then you should make it an opinion piece and clearly mark it as such. Besides ethics, the way you explain things to your readers is of paramount importance. If you are writing about technology like a particularly complex mechanism, you have make sure that your audience gets it. People are very busy these days and in all probability they will not like it when things are not clear. Hence, you should pay special attention to your communication skill, both written and vocal. Writing is not about using fancy words buts breaking down fancy concepts into simple understandable language which can be read by all.
What are the various fields in journalism that a student can consider? (For example, positions in blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc.)
Blogging is the easiest way to get into the thick of things. Start blogging about anything that interests even if you do that on a personal blog. If you keep it up, you will slowly get the hang of writing. Then using this experience, you can apply to any blog, newspaper or magazine you like. If you have been writing well and have been getting an increasing amount of readers, chances are that these publications will come to you. What you write about and how you do it is most of the battle. Stick with it and things will happen.
How does one cross the bridge from journalist to editor?
By writing ceaselessly about things that I care about. I established my expertise in a particular segment and since I wrote so much, I was asked to look over all the content that WATBlog generates. Of course, there are additional responsibilities when you become an editor. You are in charge of running the publication from a content perspective and making sure that everything conforms to the publication’s standards and rules. You can only handle that after you get some good writing experience under your belt.
You think active, current blogs are the future of journalism? (perhaps, even replacing newspapers)
I love blogs! Blogs democratize the entire journalism process. I don’t read newspapers anymore because I get more information (in technology) from global blogs. In fact, I think blogs should be given the same recognition as that of established newspapers since they make sure that information is doled out to everyone who wants it. In most cases, bloggers don’t even do it to make money. They do it because they have a compulsive itch to write and inform. Personally, I think newspapers are a dated concept. Everyone is switching to a blog format because blogs are the real analogue to physical newspapers on the web. As technology grows and becomes pervasive, I see no need to go ahead and read newspapers as long you have a smartphone with which youwhich you can access an online blog/publication. Save paper!
How can a fresher land a job in a publication/media agency?
Curiosity and willingness to take risks without thinking too much of the consequences beforehand. I have a degree in Earth Sciences! There is no real need for a background if you have the interest and willingness to do the job at hand. If you are passionate about something and actually go ahead and do something about it, I am sure you will get whatever you want.
Publications want to know how you write. Instead of taking tests and writing samples in the interview, I suggest that you maintain a blog beforehand (like a I said before). Write and develop your style and when you approach any publication/agency, just show your blog to them. If it is good, you will get in. I didn’t do any of this since I had no clue but things worked in my favor. It might not always happen to everyone.
What skills must a student hone if he/she wishes to be a journalist?
- Journalistic ethics
- Simple, clear writing
- The ability to identify a story
- Removal of personal and societal bias
- Being connected to your environment (in this case the sector you are writing about)
- Devour as much good writing as you can
- Just start writing