So you’ve decided to become a journalist and you have already visualized yourself reading the evening news on TV or maybe you want to be on the field to witness and report the action live.
If you’re already daydreaming about being on the television or holding a microphone and commandeering the screen, then you have already taken the first necessary step to becoming a journalist in Ghana.
Over the years, the interest of individuals in the journalism profession has soared. As it seems, more people are getting interested in taking up journalism or planning to be broadcasters which had led to the increase of private media schools in Ghana.
In this article, we will walk you through the necessary steps you need to take if you want to become a journalist in Ghana and if you plan on becoming very successful in the profession.
Who is a Journalist?
Before we dive into details, we’ll like to give a little explanation of the profession so that you have a better understanding of it.
A journalist is a professional who researches, writes, and reports news stories. A journalist can work in a specific news category such as politics, sports or celebrity news or be assigned general news topics.
There are lots of professions in journalism. In the newspaper profession, there are individuals like writers, proofreaders, editors, and copyeditors involved in the gathering and writing of news reports and they are all referred to as journalists.
In TV, broadcasters, reporters, news anchors, and correspondents are also referred to as journalists. If you plan on becoming a journalist, you should have an area of specialization in mind.
How to Become a Journalist in Ghana
Now that you know who a journalist is and the job of a journalist, we can move on to the steps to take to become a journalist in Ghana.
Choose a Platform
The main field of employment for journalists is in mass media and this includes Newspapers, Radio, Websites, and TV. Before anything else, you should decide which of these platforms suit you best.
Today, the most profitable options are TV and website platforms. As a journalist, you get to report news on the field or from the studio of the news company. If you opt for the website option, you’ll simply have to research and write news content that will be posted on the site of the news company.
News websites have become extremely popular over recent years, as more people spend more time on their mobile phones than in front of TV screens.
If you’re a very good writer, it might be best for you to start up with news websites, but if you prefer being in front of the camera, then you should give TV news companies a shot.
Choose an Area of Specialization
As said earlier, the journalism profession is quite broad. There are writers, news anchors, reporters, editors, copyeditors, correspondents, and broadcasters who are all considered to be journalists.
These professions have different purposes and work on different platforms. Below is a breakdown of the meaning and responsibilities of these professions
- Writer: A writer is an individual who uses written words to communicate ideas. In Journalism, writers, research and write news content that will be published on news sites or read by reporters/news anchors on television.
- Reporter: A reporter is a person who reports new or conducts interviews. Reporters are usually outside the studios and where the action happens.
- News anchors/broadcasters/news presenter: This is a person who presents news during a news program on the TV, radio or on the internet. They are usually the ones you see on local and international TV channels reading out news from paper.
Get a Bachelor Degree
The next step is to earn a bachelor’s degree. There are many courses relating to journalism in many Ghana colleges. Go for a course that suits your preferred area of specialization.
If you don’t know the course to study or you can’t find the specific option, then you should go for a course in Journalism, Communications or English.
There are several institutions and universities in Ghana that offer journalism courses. Some of them include
- Ghana Institute of Journalism
- University of Ghana School of Communication Studies
- National Film and Television Institute
- Accra Film School
Develop the Necessary Skills
As a journalist, you will need to be an exceptional writer and possess impeccable communication and interpersonal skills. These skills are necessary and they will determine how far you will go in news and media. In fact, these skills differentiate the top journalists from the average ones.
You can develop your writing skills by writing books, blog posts and doing freelance. Writing medical, educational, financial reports are the best ways to develop your writing skills quickly.
You can develop your communication skills by shooting videos in public places and learning how to address your audience and get them to follow your report.
Join the Ghana Journalists Association
The Ghana Journalists Association is the umbrella body of Journalists in Ghana. It was established in 1949 and has since spoken up for journalists in the country.
Joining this organization will increase your chances of getting employed through recommendations, also, it will make you look more credible to employers.
Get Connected With Other Journalists
Join as many journalism institutions and groups as you can. Also, attend as many seminars and social gatherings as necessary. This makes it easier for you to build a network and meet with other journalists who would possibly give you advice that will help you advance in your career or offer you employment.
Sign up for Paid or Unpaid Internships
Whether you’re getting paid or not, the experience and the connections you will make through the internships will help you go a long way. Ensure you perform your best so that the company would retain you or at least, you could get them to recommend you when the need arises.
The field of journalism offers so many opportunities for individuals who are serious and determined to make it big on the screen. By following the steps above, you will set yourself up for success as you pursue a career as a journalist in Ghana.
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