Being a reporter isn’t for everyone. There are some special qualities that are a must-have in this line of work.
First, you have to have a nose for news. Not every newsworthy item will plant itself on your desk with a big bow and tag that reads, “I’m worth investigating and here’s why.” Sometimes all I get is a whiff of something interesting and the rest is up to me. Which leads to …
Second, curiosity. A good reporter must be curious. It doesn’t take much to pique my curiosity, regardless of what I’m writing about: from crimes to human interest stories. I want to know all I can and the more details the better.
Third, patience tendered with firm determination. A good reporter has the patience of a saint, a saint with the knowledge that almost everything is timely and deadlines do exist. Some articles take longer than others. Information is not always readily available when you need it most. Patience is an asset for any good reporter, as well as the determination to not give up.
Fourth, flexibility in writing. Being a reporter is almost like a rollercoaster ride full of emotions. One minute I’m writing about last night’s governments meetings and the next I’m grabbing my camera and rushing out the door to cover a wreck or structure fire. A good reporter can switch from one article to another and back again. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, or so I’ve heard.
Fifth, intelligence and courage. A good reporter can handle bad situations. Not every article will be rainbows and unicorns. The ability to report on tough topics is the hallmark of a good reporter. Courage helps in those situations. Those without courage will fold.
Sixth, credibility and accuracy. A good reporter is trustworthy and dedicated to accuracy. Building working relationships with individuals means building trust with them. It is absolutely imperative that people know you can be trusted. If that confidence is broken, good luck building it again.
Seven, stress management. Stress seems to be a big problem for some people. They crumble under the slightest pressure. Good reporters do not. We handle each situation as it arises and possess excellent stress management skills.
Eight, punctuality and dependability. Good reporters are prompt. Whether it be a committee meeting, parade lineup or deadline, timekeeping skills and reliability are a must. There are very few acceptable excuses for being late. Buy a watch, keep a cellphone handy and learn to love calendars.
There are many, many qualities that one must possess to be a good reporter and this column just skimmed the surface. If you have those qualities, this job is very rewarding. I find being a reporter very gratifying. I live and breathe it. If it’s newsworthy, I’ll cover it.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.