Are you planning to join a journalism course?
What you require, the checklist

A flair for writing; strong on spelling and grammar:
Can you write about how your neighbours fought over something without being too verbose or boring?
Were you a voracious reader while in college?

Good general knowledge:
A broader knowledge of subjects rather than a deeper knowledge of a few. (Deep knowledge of some subjects can help you to specialise).
Basic knowledge of economics, science, religion, politics, law, history ...
Being a literature student is not necessarily an advantage, especially in reporting.

Nose for News:
A good course will help you develop this. But, are you able to tell which of the events around you will find its way to the papers the next day? After listening to a speaker at a public meeting, are you able to tell what was the most newsworthy point he made? Check the next day's paper to see whether you were right.

Are you curious about the happenings around you; how things work?
Are you puzzled by some of the political or other developments around you and want to find out answers?

Empathy towards suffering people, sense of justice. Many journalists develop this on the job as they cover and interact with many people.

Do you take journalism to be a means of livelihood or something more than that?

Computer literacy:
You need not be a geek. But you should surely know word processing. Can you type?

An Amitabh Bachan fan?
Are you a big fan of politicians, film personalities, sportsmen? If yes, you are not good for the job. You may tip over as you run for their proximity. Balanced views are important in journalism. People who adore personalities would not often find their faults.

Memory of names and faces:
Can you recall the name and designation of the important guest you met at last night's party?

Good health:
Assignments may involve a lot of travel. Your work and working conditions may change very frequently. You may have to work in inhospitable conditions. Do you enjoy travel and adventure? 
What the school requires:

Qualified staff as in the case of any other institution. Facilities for producing lab journals including computer lab. Facilities for photography, video production.

Does it produce lab journals, Webzines and other in house publications regularly? What is the quality of the material produced? Do mostly the students themselves produce the journals? Is there qualified staff to teach you page making and design? Do their student video productions look professional?

The ideal strength of a class is between 10 and 20. Beyond that effective practical training will be difficult.
If the institution gets experienced journalists as guest lecturers, that could be an advantage.

If journalists run the institution, check whether it devotes a lot of time to practicals. If they do, that could be of  special advantage. Are the institutions run with a missionary zeal? If not, remember that working journalists are unlikely to pay much attention to teaching as that is not their main job.

Note that though journalism is basically a craft, there is a theoretical and academic side to it, especially in subjects such as mass communication, press laws and ethics. Institutions run by journalists may not have proper arrangements to provide this instruction.

Journalistic skills can be learned on the job. But, an academic foundation, once missed, may never be acquired at a later stage.

Correspondence courses will never suffice. Even part time courses would not fully equip you to pursue a career in journalism.

It is important that you do a lot of reading and writing while being a journalism student. Does the institution have a good library? Journalists ought to have wider knowledge on a variety of subjects. So, the library should have books on a wide range of subjects. Make use of a University or public library near you, if your institution does not have a well-equipped library.

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