In this article, Raghav Ajmera of Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune discusses Career opportunities for law graduates in journalism.
A pen is more dangerous than a sword or gun. Today everyone wants to be aware of the issue and incidents happening around the world related to the economy, science, politics, culture, religious, sports etc. The media and technology is the source of information to the people around the world and journalist is one who is responsible for all kind of information provided. It is a very responsible job because before providing the news the journalist needs to be very sure as whatever they say to influence the public to a large extent. A person looking for a career in journalism should be presentable and confident. To be a lawyer or to be a journalist is a similar thing as in both the cases you need be very precise about the details and facts. These both are intertwined. After a graduate from a law school practicing as a lawyer or be at a corporate office is not the only option you have. You have an enormous number of options with good monetary benefits. What both require is a good communication, researching skills. Better the skills better are your growth. Working as a journalist with a law degree is an excellent career choice. Everyone in their law school has heard the line that ‘you can do anything with a law degree’.
World of Journalism
Journalism refers to the distribution of reports that are being taken from events, facts, interaction with people from around the globe. It is the method of collecting the reports and organizing the literary style. Journalist media includes the newspaper, news channel, radio.
If we look deeper in journalism, the news media in some country is not an independent body it is controlled by government interventions. While the country’s where news media is an independent body works under the constitutional protection of freedom of the press. The world of journalism from the last two decades has undergone an enormous number of changes with the change in technology. As now the internet is providing news online with easy access which has made more readers throughout the world. Subsequently, this has made the increase in more news reporting sources. Journalism has various forms all with a diverse audience.
To know whether the career in journalism is good or not first of all count all the characteristics that are required to be a good journalist and then compared the same characteristics with your qualities. We may find out that the skills needed to have a good career in journalism are many of the same skills that a lawyer learns while attending the law school.
For instance, A lawyer at any point can be asked to do a quick study on a new business or industry, or a person all depending on the client’s need. Similarly, the same skill is applicable to the world of journalism where you may be asked or expected to write an article or report on a legal topic that you know a little about.
Like a journalist needs to have an exceptional writing and speaking skills same applies to the legal world where these skills are transferable.
Developing relationships is the most important thing you can do to break into the world of journalism. The field of journalism is very competitive. Even if you have the characteristics that are required to be a journalist on television or a newspaper reporter you can’t easily get a job or crack an interview. The first thing you should do is make your network strong. Try to interact with as many people as you can. The lifestyle is completely different from a journalist as compared to a lawyer.
- The schedule of a journalist is a flexible one but a lawyer has busy times when he has to cover a case he even doesn’t gets time for his/her personal life. The case takes priority over your personal life.
- Initially, all the journalist’s salary does not match the salary of a lawyer as in starting they are paid less.
- To overcome the challenges a journalist needs to be very quick and fast which may not be possible for a lawyer to do as it would result in not detail and accurate reading.
- A lawyer, in general, is trained to present one side of a case with great efforts and arguments but a journalist with all his efforts needs to present opinion from both the side.
- Journalists do not present an opinion not to win a case but a lawyer presents one side to win a case.
To be a good journalist you must have the following qualities :
- Be informed: Read newspaper daily so that you would be aware of the issues happening around the world which will help you during your job as a journalist.
- Be quick: The most important thing that you should have is to be quick because this field requires more attention and accuracy and quick answers as compared to other forms of a profession.
- Excellent writing: The writing part should be the best attribute of yours in the field of journalism. Your writing reflects you.
- Narrative skills: There are two most important attributes that a person must have is their skill of writing and narration. A journalist by his/her way of speaking can influence other. Narration and writing should be your first priority to get success in the field of journalism.
- You get to meet a lot of people: As a journalist, you get to do interviews with a variable number of people with different types of background which makes your network strong.
- You get to learn for a living: Journalism is the career where every day you get to learn something new. Every morning you get news to research for which you get paid. So more you learn more you get paid.
The role of law in journalism
Freedom of press
The law has played a major role in the world of journalism. The world of journalism works under the constitutional protection of freedom of the press which has helped the journalist to work freely without any interruption of an individual. Freedom of the press is the communication of expression and thoughts through the medium of newspaper or television but freedom only to that extent where it is not causing defamation.
Issue of privacy
There has always been a debate of privacy with regard to journalism. The digital world has been very helpful in regard to the invasion of privacy as today cameras can capture everything happening around. The legal issue of privacy currently focuses on private facts of an individual.
Libel is basically a false statement which is written or published about any other individual which damages their reputation. Libel causes a huge loss to an individual. But whenever a case is brought up against the news channel or newspaper the case gets easily dismissed as the defendants produce defenses which may help them to win the case because the plaintiff fails to prove that the facts published or written are defamatory.
Career in journalism after law
A career in media after doing law would be an excellent career opportunity. Be and known for a legal expert in a particular area. Being a legal expert sets you apart from other journalists. Maybe you can get a job because of your particular expertise. Legal education helps you to improve your writing, narrating and researching skills which is a necessary attribute to enter into the world of journalism. A journalist with a law degree needs no additional training to report on the legal issues. A journalist with a law degree will help in spreading legal awareness among the citizens of a country.
In conclusion it is regarded that lawyers are needed in journalism not because of their work ethics or detailed working or accurate answering but because of the fact that the lawyers are aware of the laws as the public needs to be educated about our legal system and this will happen only with the help of a journalist with a law degree.
A law graduate possesses all kinds of qualities that a journalist requires. The work of a lawyer is to interpret the kind of crime and describe the rules stating that particular crime. While a journalist job is to report the crime committed that is why it is regarded as the sub-branch. To both the lawyers and journalists truth is necessary. Both lawyers and journalists are the most powerful source available to the world. Both lawyers and journalists need to influence the public according to their point of view. Legal education provides you attribute which is best suited for journalism.
Future holds in journalism
This is the world of technology. Needs for e-paper is necessary. Social media has taken over the internet and social media is the best form of communication available to the users worldwide. Whether it is a newspaper, media everything is accessible on one click. The digitisation has brought the world to our living rooms. Everyone knows that the internet holds a huge audience and the future is full of technology.
Diploma courses in journalism one can pursue with law
Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication program principally spins around ideas, for example, Fundamentals of Mass Communication, Writing and Communication aptitudes, Media Law and Ethics, News Reporting, Editorial Writing, Fundamentals of Documentary making and etc. Diploma courses duration differs from course to course.
Online course in journalism
Yes, there are many institutes who provide the online courses in journalism. These courses are very helpful as they help in learning at distance also.
A postgraduate degree in Masters in communication from IIMC – How helpful will it be
When it comes to Indian Institute of mass communication, you have the best college in the journalism and mass communication field. The exposure in this college is very high as the best teachers and faculties teach here. The college not only focuses on theory reading and learning but also it helps you in teaching the practical aspects of your field. You get a chance to participate daily in the activities as to improve yourself. Yes, a post graduation degree from this college will surely make a difference for your future in the world of journalism.
Internships to focus on
Interning with iPleaders
iPleaders have made the law more accessible to the people nowadays. iPleaders advocates that businessmen, including technology entrepreneurs, can manage the majority of legal issues by themselves efficiently if they are equipped with basic knowledge and resources. Interning with them would be very helpful to you if you are planning your future in the world of journalism. The best part of your interning here would be that at the end of the internship period your writing skills would be very improved as during the course of internship period you are going to write as many numbers of articles. Writing skills would be very helpful to you in the field of journalism.
Interning with Bar and Bench
The main task of the interns here would be research on Supreme Court judges and their profiles, Wikipedia editing, worked on the Bar and Bench report, publication on the website. This will help you in improving your general and social knowledge and it would be very helpful in the field of journalism as when you would be sitting in any debates in future you’ll have a little relevancy about every topic. This internship will help you in improving your research skills.
Interning with Live Law
Live Law is a comprehensive legal news portal and is set to redefine the standards of legal journalism in India. Their endeavor is to bring in more transparency in legal reporting without lowering the supremacy of law. This is a portal which will be very helpful to the students pursuing their career in journalism after law as interning here would not only improve your legal knowledge but also you’ll gain some attributes about journalism.
Interning with big media companies
The big media companies are Hindu, Indian Express, etc. interning with them will give you an outline of the world of journalism. The internship here will make your CV strong if you are going to have a future in journalism.
How much salary do Indian journalists make?
According to the sources, a journalist earns between the range of Rs 119,909 – Rs 751,559. But a job in journalism can be very helpful as it has many advantages.
Lawyer turned journalist
Rajdeep Sardesai is a good example of how a lawyer turned into a journalist. He is the only Indian journalist who replies to messages and emails of every common man. In one of his interview, he said, “It was that time I thought that this profession can provide me independence with which I can fight for the people’s rights. That’s how I observed my transition to law. But after a practice of six months, I realized that .. well I would say, I was always vacillating between law and journalism. I always liked journalism. I also did an internship in a newspaper during my college days. So eventually I went for journalism, but still, sometimes I reckon I should have continued with my practice.”
The interview was taken by Acadman
Doing journalism after a law degree is an excellent choice as a student in law school you gain all the attributes that are necessary for a good journalist. Journalism is a composition of reporting, analysing, and organising the world news. For journalism reading, researching, narrative, writing are the most important attribute required. Journalism and law go hand in hand having almost similar characteristics.