How to write news. Why do journalists ask stupid questions? How to become a journalist. How many journalistic genres there are? Does journalism still exist? This and much more I tell you in my column ‘The journalist I would like’ in a simple, straightforward way, full of stories I have experienced and read.

On the risk of sounding like someone who takes things for granted, I must say that there is a long list of people to whom I would like to personally dedicate this column. They are former colleagues, teachers, friends, loved ones, and not, who inspired me to create it. They are the people behind the stories I will tell you and the advice I will take the liberty of giving you.

I built my experience as a journalist by studying and going from one newsroom to another, with poor pay and unstable contracts. Environment, that if you don’t have passion for what you do you abandon it the first day you set foot in it.

Inspired by my experience, in this ocean full of journalists and newspapers seller, I decided to create a column on what qualities a journalist should have. 

I want to share everything I have learned, all the negative and positive episodes, that I have collected in more than ten years of journalism.

Some things I already had in my personality, others I learnt from observing class reporters, others I picked up from books (thank goodness for them), from websites, and many other things, I learnt by making mistakes and learning lessons at my own expense. 

But wherever my lessons come from, which I will tell you about, they have all helped me understand that being a journalist does not mean being hired by a major media organisation and doing the bidding of editors and directors. It has made me realise that I can be a journalist even if I don’t work for a newspaper, news programme or online publication.

I named my column “The Journalist I would like” to answer those who think that a journalist can only work for a newspaper or a news program. Did you know there is a profession called Email Marketing Specialist and among the experiences companies want is that of a journalist? I’ll explain this later. And I won’t tell you about the reaction a journalist had when he saw me years ago, doing an interview with a well-known Italian minister with a smartphone. He shamelessly laughed in my face and asked me what I was doing. I will tell you about that another time.

Returning to my column, with this one, I want to respond to all those who think that there are kinds of publications that give rise to superior forms of journalism. Like someone who writes about politics is cooler than someone who writes about fashion. As you write and read articles every day, you realise that there are really only two types of journalism: the good and the bad. Especially with the spread of the use of social media and artificial intelligence.

Bad journalism is practiced by those who rush to judgement instead of finding things out, who care more about themselves than the reader, who write between the lines, who think in terms of stereotypes and clichés, who consider accuracy and exaggeration a tool. And they prefer vagueness to accuracy, commentary to information.

A good journalist is intelligent, funny, reliable in information, honest in intentions, uses original language, and serves no cause other than the truth. Whatever the audience. Whatever the culture. Whatever the language. Whatever the circumstances. This is universal journalism and can be published anywhere. Rules that should be applied by all professionals who tell stories, whatever the field.

And this is the path on which my column was born. 

Another reason that encouraged me to create this online space is to tell those outside the profession about the world of journalism. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information, so in order to understand the journalist, you have to get to know him, and in this way, you also learn the difference between real and fake news.

To become a journalist, I was always told to study and acquire new skills. It is true, in part, but it is true. The true part, which I can confirm through my own experience, is that I work with a huge amount of numbers, I know how online media work, I have learned to use the internet as a research tool, to judge the sources of information, which have become very sophisticated and I recognise who manipulates them and I am able to produce more informative, original and reliable journalism than that of the ever-increasing number of competitors. 

In my opinion, you must like it! I have a list of people who, just at the idea of paying attention to detail, might faint. This is one of the basic elements a good journalist should have.

See you in the next episode and I will tell you about the characteristics of the journalist.

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