Journalism: Sources of News
Journalism is one of the largest industries in the world. A journalist carries the weight of society on their shoulders. This is because information empowers a community and journalism has that mandate. They search for news and inform people about the happenings of the moment. And as you may already, news happens all the time on different topics. New things are taking place all across the globe, socially, politically, and economically, hence there is something newsworthy at every given moment. And even if you are a journalist in a small country, you will not lack something to report on any specific time. It is the job of a journalist to get this information and share it with everyone else. And society expects journalists to do their jobs as its eyes and ears.
However, a journalist needs a way of getting these new items. They will not know what is happening by just sitting around. They need to get out, and source for new information and disseminate to the public. There are all sorts of information sources, which only a keen journalist can tell. They include people, letters, books, files, tapes, and – in fact, anything a journalist can use to put their stories together.
As journalism students, one of the main aspects of your studies will focus on newsgathering and sources. First, you will learn ethical and legal issues in newsgathering, and then get to know the best places to find news. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the most popular news sources every beginning journalist must know. Of course, as they continue studying, more sources will come their way.
Note that a journalist must deal with reliable facts. Many face lawsuits when they cannot verify the sources of their information. As such, they must give accurate information about what is said and what is said. But there are a lot of news sources. And since a journalist needs always to report, most are tempted to take any source that comes their way. Consider the following sources:
One good thing about being a journalist is that you will always find people willing to give information. And it is crucial for such a person to use the opportunity to create networks. Through these networks, it becomes easier to get information.
A journalist should have contacts in the areas they work in. These are people who go on with their daily activities, but they call whenever something news is happening.
Contacts can be other reporters. Although many may not be completely reliable, they are still an excellent place to start. But one should always check reporters' information and judge their reliability. In simple terms, it is always good to be careful with your contacts’ information.
Sometimes phone calls are the best way to for a journalist to get the information they want. Sometimes their contacts call, and other times, they have to call directly.
But just like any other news source, one should be careful to check their references. Even phone calls can be fake sources.
Every journalist needs to have a primary definer. These are sources of information that can never be changed. With these, you can always be sure there is a reliable source of information. Primary definers can be live events happening in your working area.
Again a primary source can be someone else at the center of the event. They are called primary sources because they can define the events as they happened. These are eyewitness, for instance, in an area of an accident. However, just because someone was present at the time does not mean they will give you accurate information. This is why a journalist talks to several witnesses.
There is always something new happening in your local governments. You can check out for press conferences and other government projects. Again, there are political rallies that are perfect for newsgathering. You just need to know where it is happening.
A journalist can also get leaked documents from a government institution. Such documents are leaked by people who believe the public has the right to know.
Court proceedings are among the best sources of information. However, note that court reporting is not like any other form of reporting. Be sure to be at the court when the cases start and stay to the end.
PR and spin
Public relations offers the best insight into news stories. There is always something new that an aggressive journalist can tap into. Besides, these are old stories that may still be of value to the public. This is called spin. You can change an old account and present it from a whole new perspective. These stories always turn out more interesting than you may think.
A journalist always has access to different sources of news. This is why many countries require a journalist to be registered by a national body. With new access, it becomes easier to get information about anything. Apart from this, most media houses have their news outlet, and such areas are accessible freely by those who work with the company.
Note-taking and record-keeping
One of the best methods journalists use to access information are interviews and conferences. Note-taking is the practice of making short notes for later use. A journalist should always have their own approach to note-taking. For instance, you can use the letter “S” to represent the subject, so that you don’t have to write the whole word.
Newsgroups and the web
The internet is called the new media because it offers the quickest access to information. Social media has become a vital part of the modern world. And it has become the most effective source of information for journalists too.
Every journalist should join a newsgroup. These are groups set up to help journalists from different newsrooms and connect and share information. You can always receive tips from different regions for quick, easy access.
Author: James Hamilton