5 Must-Have Traits of a Good Journalist

The purpose of this work is to present some personal reflections on the training of future journalists. I come from a conviction: that journalism, as an activity, is not a mere technique but a practical knowledge of a prudential nature. Hence, the decisive factor for improving journalistic information is the fact of having better journalists.

It can be expected – from reason, not from economic and power interests – that there be a certain unanimous agreement with respect to that assertion. The difficulty lies in what to do so that this improvement occurs, in agreeing on the contents, modes and educational methods that make it possible.

In my opinion, so that an adequate educational policy can be structured, it is necessary, as an indispensable previous step, to be clear about the intellectual and moral qualities that the journalist must have so that he can and wants to make an information that contributes to the public presence of the diverse truths that citizens need to know in order to act with greater freedom, justice, solidarity and success.

For that reason, I will first present my reflection on what these intellectual and moral habits are. Next, I will deduce a series of criteria, guidelines and methods that make possible an adequate formation of the journalists.

Qualities of the journalist:

The intelligence:

  • By intelligence we understand the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a predominantly intellectual order that the informants must have in order to adequately develop their specific mission.
  • It seems clear that if we were in the sphere of mere knowledge, the cast could be endless. Especially if you are still immersed in a positivist environment that confuses knowledge with erudition, and that has fostered this generalized criticism – which, because it is topical, is no less fair – about the “journalist who writes everything and does not know anything”.
  • Obviously, some knowledge is necessary. But it is not less obvious that it is not enough to possess them to do well the journalistic work, nor are they the decisive element. What is really necessary and operative is that they have the intellectual and moral habits of people who know how to value and reflect and, subsequently, communicate and communicate, doing justice to reality, to the recipient and to himself. “The value of a spirit – says Guitton – lies not so much in its science (books and encyclopedias are within reach) as in the possession of lively habits that allow it to adapt its knowledge and principles to the uniqueness of cases always new and, conversely, in discerning the benefit that can be drawn from what is offered by chance ” .

Well, in my opinion, those necessary intellectual habits are, in summary:

  • Openness, without prejudice, to reality, which implies respect for the nature of things and the effort to discover it (realistic sense).
  • The reflective attitude and the capacity for reflection, which are expressed in the teleological sense, the critical sense, the historical sense and the capacity for analysis and synthesis, and whose permanent reference is the search for truth and its adequate communication, using the language and the appropriate modes (rhetorical sense). Nick Gamache has spent more than 15 years in the Canadian media circles. Nick Gamache Journalist has spent the bulk of his career as a journalist and producer where he gained extensive experience in writing and performing for broadcasts as well as writing and editing online content.