By Tunde Jakande Tjak
Today every Tom Dick and Harry parades themselves as journalists.
However, disseminating information to the public do not automatically make one a journalist.
Distributing news worthy information to the public do not also make one a journalist.
Working in a Media House maybe as an on- air presenter or host of a programme do not make one a journalist either.
Being a blogger, media owner, columnist, author or writer do not make one a journalist.
A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public.
The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism. It is a job that requires technical capability. It means one must be formally trained.
We must go to a school of journalism where we will be schooled on how to disseminate information.
This is because there are rules and regulations guiding the systematic and formal gathering, processing and presentation of information.
Journalists must apply the five Ws and one H basics in their writings. Journalists writing for a media organisation must adopt the in-house style.
Reports must be fair, balanced and factual. Reports must be written in an inverted triangle format meaning the most important information comes from top to bottom.
A school of journalism teaches how to gather and disseminates information.
Journalists are members of the intelligentsia community. Because they are very knowledgeable.
There is a reason why journalism is called the fourth estate of the realm.
I am a journalist because I went to a school of journalism not because I studied mass communication in the university.
I trained and worked in three major media establishments. I was in the New Nigeria Newspapers and Daily Times before I was twenty years old.
I did my youth service at the Nigeria Television Authority NTA. I was absorbed as a staff and worked at the Network News Directorate for several years.
I travelled to the UK and functioned as a freelancer on Ben Television and a couple of productions.
I founded and became the CEO of LG News Academy Magazine which has transformed to L G News Stewardship.
I am a trained journalist with over twenty years’ experience in print and electronic media.
I am a writer but being able to write do not make one a journalist. As a matter of fact not all journalists are gifted writers or wordsmiths.
Unfortunately many people are performing the roles of a journalist. They are giving the noble profession a bad name.
Many report events in badly written or spoken English. Many reports are haphazardly written.
Many also become emergency or ‘road side’ press Secretaries or media aide with no prerequisite training or knowledge of what it takes to get the job done effectively.
Many are reluctant to attend trainings or workshops that can build competence and proficiency. Grab an opportunity to get skilled on how to get the job done.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists should wake up to her responsibilities and protect the profession before it finally goes to the dogs.
A stitch in time saves nine.