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A field journalist actively seeking out the truth is laborious. It takes guts to become one in a world of secrets and lies. How dangerous is it to become a field journalist these days?
Being a field journalist is an extraordinary feat to accomplish. It may not seem like it for some people who think that jobs require action, like police, bodyguards, firefighters, etc. The United Nations said this about journalism: it counts as one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Journalists typically go out to the streets, get information and tell the audience what’s happening in front of a camera.
While there may be different types of journalists, we will highlight the ones who set out in the field to witness events in real-time with their own eyes. And if you’re interested in delving deeper into the struggles of a journalist, Blind Journey a Journalist’s Memoirs by Jack Hawn is a good book that highlights the events that a journalist goes throughout their career. You can also check his works through this website.
The occupational hazards
As you browse through the latest news on the internet or scroll through social media, or from time to time, turn on the TV; you witness a lot of the tragic events transpiring in real-time. Without the hardworking journalists running toward the scene with their lives on the line, you wouldn’t hear about them. The occupational hazards of a journalist are things that we need to concern ourselves with.
Experts say that authoritarian regimes are putting journalism in a chokehold, painting the critical ones as the villain for saying “bad things” and smearing their reputation. Every year, more countries are added to the list of being unsafe for journalists to thrive in. Violence and harassment against field journalists still are ironically rampant in even the most democratic countries. Local media are often not acknowledged by the government as credible sources of information in an attempt to control public opinion and remain in power.
Not only that, journalists are often imprisoned for doing their jobs. The attacks against them, perpetuated by prominent political figures, are fueled by fear and hate-mongering, which makes the situation worse for journalists. They’re painted as the “enemy of the people” rather than harbingers of truth. Admittedly, rebuilding the trust the public once had in the mainstream media takes work.
The work environment
Generally, journalists also have desk jobs where they write reports and work under various media companies like papers, TV news stations, and magazines. Field journalists are the ones you often see outdoors, but they still need to report back to headquarters for their other daily tasks. Their job is like any different fast-paced environment where everything has to be done in real-time and with no mistakes as much as possible.
To be a journalist, one must have a passion for relaying stories and presenting information most coherently. Working as a journalist also helps by staying informed about current affairs that the public needs to know. Part of the perks of being a journalist also includes access to crucial sources, be it online or from people.
Journalism as a competitive profession
Despite the dangers in the industry, journalism is still a competitive profession, as you have chances of fame with a breakthrough piece you made and put out. The road to being a remarkable journalist is tough, and many of the well-known ones we recognize today started as freelance writers or were part of the invisible staff working behind the scenes.
Rising through the ranks to have more perks in the industry has always been the goal of any passionate professional. It’s suitable as long as the goal remains the same. And while they’re still starting, journalists don’t get to choose the story they have to work on. They must develop excellent communication skills, editing, copywriting, and interviewing people. Through those responsibilities, they can choose to be distinctive and, in turn, stand out from the crowd.
Being a field journalist amid political unrest
The role of a professional field journalist will constantly ask you to take risks, primarily when they’re relaying information about the troublesome political landscape of the country they live in. They put their lives on the line when they chose to call out the discrepancies, corruption, and blatant lies of the local and national leaders.
Field journalist only stays in one place if they wish to find what they seek. They must constantly be on their toes for any new information supporting their story. The ever-shifting landscape of society requires people who will be alert enough to put everything into words. Being a field journalist means learning new things all the time as you open your eyes to the wonder and danger of today’s information age.