In Summary
  • This is what I did. I requested – through this column – all journalists employed in the print media to demonstrate, by way of answers, how and where to start in order to be journalists and work for newspapers.

Two weeks ago, this column reported that 13 bloggers were interested in knowing how to become newspaper journalists.

This is what I did. I requested – through this column – all journalists employed in the print media to demonstrate, by way of answers, how and where to start in order to be journalists and work for newspapers.

I extended the request to journalists in other media outlets – radio and TV stations; and expanded the ground to include how they got employment, what qualifications they possessed and what they think attracted their employers. Here are four of the 11 responses received by the public editor’s desk.

Journalist 1: In essence, one has to have the passion for journalism. It should not be the “passion” acquired only recently when you lost your first job or when you learnt that your exam results will not be taking you anywhere; or when you have failed elsewhere.

You must have the nose for what you want to be or to do; and this is not automatic. You have to grow with it and it is what develops into passion.

But in the current circumstances, it demands that you seek education, knowledge and skills which will mould you into what you want to be. There are many journalist institutes in the country. Try one. That is what I did although I am no longer in the print media industry.

Journalist 2: I used to read newspapers almost daily; following up a few by-lines under which I found interesting and important information and news. Finally, I told myself, ‘I would like to be like this…’

I find something rhythmic in journalism. You see what, as you read you feel like drum beats aligning rhythmically and pounding in your chest…new messages, new stories, new information – things never told; never known before.

Then you come back to yourself, ‘This writer is great. How can I write like her/him?’ My love for journalism “ripened” when I was in Form VI and always following up on investigation stories.

I declined selection to the University of Dar es Salaam only to join a school of journalism where I obtained a diploma and was employed by the government newspapers. I joined the university six years later when I was already recognised by some circles as a “good journalis”.

Journalist 3: I used to take part in essay writing competitions all the way from primary school. I won four times. I always thought that was similar to journalism. It wasn’t.

But I nursed the idea until when I completed Form VI and joined a teacher’s college where I cultivated interest in reading newspapers. It reached a point I started writing some articles for newspapers – Uhuru and Daily News – and got paid.

The other day I received a note from the managing editor of UHURU. He wanted to see me. That’s when he told me, “You look trainable. I wa

nt to employ you as a reporter.” Four years later I was selected for journalism studies in Hungary; and my journey in journalism had started.

Journalist 4: Working as a journalist in a newspaper is “not big deal” and cannot be equated to writing the New Testament – written by four people from different posts and still conveying non-conflicting messages about the life of Jesus Christ; and there was no school of journalism at that time.

In short, those seeking to work with newspapers are already journalists. Writing in MCL products, Newsweek, the Bible or The Guardian, is just writing. It is what they write that will make big name for their outlets as with MCL; thence their thirsty will be quenched (Dr John Haule – Health Writer).

More responses are still coming and more room may be sought for their publication on this page and onward transmission of responses to all who have made enquiries on the matter.