For anyone looking to pursue a career in journalism, knowledge and research is key. Mastery of these skills, also known as tools of the trade, and can significantly enhance the ranks of those seeking expansion within this lucrative field.
Take your mind back to your schooldays when you had to do a great deal of research and keep that mindset. This means that you must bear in mind the 3 Cs of research – comb, contact, check. It is a great deal of work but it will do a world of good for your credibility as one who imparts facts and at the same time catch the attention of the editors you work for.
Whenever you are given an assignment or working on a feature make sure that you use all the avenues possible to gather information that can help you to produce good work. If you proceed without the necessary research readers, listeners or viewers can easily be turned off. They will have a flood of unanswered questions racing through their minds and wonder why you bothered to even bring up the subject. The editor on the other hand will not be willing to give you bigger and better assignments after being fed a dose of work with gaping holes.
Many media houses develop a credibility for being the first with the scoops and information on a wide range of subjects so if you want to be a part of that team you must show your skills in getting important information. These media sources have developed such a reputation that one almost comes to believe that anything reported by them is tantamount to gospel.
These days one has no excuse when it comes on to sources for added information. Access to the internet will provide you with information from all directions. Make sure you bookmark or save the material that you find useful. Of course you will still need to read everything with an analytic mind.
Extra information will come from books, magazines, persons and other sources. Arrange books where you you can find them readily. Clippings from newspapers and magazines must also be arranged in a folder or a manner that you know exactly where to find material on a specific subject.
People sources are equally important. Have their phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses where they are accessible so that you can contact them quickly when you need to. Once you embark on an assignment be sure of the questions you intend to ask and the information you are aiming to get well organized so when you are interviewing an individual you do not feel lost not knowing what next to ask. This will be the hallmark of a true professional.
What Methods do You Use?
There are many methods available for researching data, what methods have you found to be most useful?