Top qualities of a top journalist

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 10.00.59 AMContributed by Anna Ellingburg

Students often feel inundated with advice about the hundreds of skills and attributes journalists “must have” in order to be successful. But the journalists at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis have narrowed the list to five essential qualities of a solid journalist.

1. Dedication

Photojournalist Bo Bradley says a real journalist has to be a dedicated one. He says you have to be willing to work the longer shifts and do the grunt work, really roll with the punches, to be successful in this business.

2. Persistence

Reporter Justin Hanson says there are going to be times when you have to be persistent to get the interview that will make your story come to life. Stick with it and you will be surprised what you can do.

3. Creativity

Associate Producer Denisha Thomas says creativity drives the newsroom. You have to really use the right side of your brain and figure out what matters to your public and deliver it in a creative way.

4. Desire

Anchor/ Reporter Lindsey Brown says you have to have the desire to make a difference through what you write and what you report. You have to push through the long hours and realize that your hard work will pay off.

5. News Consumption

Assistant News Director Regina Thomas says keep writing and read a lot! Consume news from different outlets, both local and national, to compare and learn why and how they report the way they do.

It isn’t the most obvious skills and attributes — editing, writing, interviewing — that each of these successful journalists lists as most important. Instead, they say, their list includes the things that matter most when you are pushed for deadline, hunting down the interview or covering breaking news.

Anna Ellingburg is a senior at the University of Mississippi with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. She recently completed an internship at WMC.