“Passion, the driving factor in journalism”

By Noorasikin Ali

People always think that only the experienced got hired nowadays. Plus, by looking at the situation right now, there are so many fresh graduates who are jobless, even though they have a high CGPA. Then, what will happen to us who are still undergraduate? What is the main reason for us to study while we might land ourselves unemployed? Why must we struggle so hard to get a higher CGPA?

Is it worth to spend more than 10 years’ study, faced with all the stress and challenges but ended up without any job? Well, undoubtedly it was the main concerns for us as students.

Recently, as part of my journalism course, I was assigned to carry out an interview with a journalist to find out the kind of experience he has gone through in the field.

I did the interview with one of the newcomers in journalism, Amar Shah Mohsen. His name is quite familiar in the Sun’s newspaper. He is a fresh graduate from Universiti Selangor (UNISEL) but had already covered so many big events, for example, the helicopter crash in Semenyih, Bersih 4.0 and the Red Rally.

His passion in journalism had encouraged him to succeed in this field. “Well, being a reporter as a fresh graduate, without any experience is quite tough,” he said.

However, it’s proven thus far that a fresh graduate can be successful, as long as we have the enthusiasm in what we do, as shared by the journalist.

I produce here the full text of my interview with Amar Shah Mohsen:

Question: Would you mind to introduce yourself?
Answer: My name in Muhammad Amar Mohsen and people call me Amar. I am 26 years old. I did my degree in Mass Communication, specialising in Journalism.

Question: How long have you been working as a Journalist?
Answer: I started as an intern in the Sun newspaper in January 2015 and they offered me to work there until now, so it’s almost a year now.

Question: What is your biggest achievement so far?
Answer: There was an issue about the increase of taxi fare and I wrote a story about it and I got The Best Editorial Award for a quarter of year 2015.

Question: What are the challenges you have been through so far?
Answer: In terms of challenges, the biggest challenge is to get the exclusive because sometimes you have to come out with your own stories that other newspapers do not have. So looking for that sort of stories is a bit hard. And also trying to get the story like getting a response from the Minister concerned or Members of Parliament or someone of authority, but sometimes they did not want to give response so you have to find other ways to get the story.

Question: Can you share any experience that you had faced so far as a journalist?
Answer: In terms of experience, for every news that I covered it gave me a new experience. For example, when I needed to cover a story related to taxi fare. In order to get to this issue, I need to do a follow-up with every party, from the authority, the taxi drivers and from the public to avoid from being biased. It was a long process. Secondly, when Malaysia was shocked with the helicopter crash in Semenyih which killed a known Malaysian figure I need to witness and observe every single thing that happened there to write a story. Well, being in the jungle with the debris and the dead bodies as well as the crash fragments, what do you expect?

Question: From your own perspectives, what are the differences between being a newspaper journalist and a broadcast journalist?
Answer: As a newspaper journalist, you just have to write based on your findings. On the other hand, a broadcast journalist I would say is a bit harder because you have to come out with a script based on the video and you have to cut the video according to which segment that you want. Basically as a broadcast journalist it’s just like producing a movie.

Question: Could you briefly explain about how a newspaper journalist produced news, maybe it starts with just a rumour then into a piece of news?
Answer: Most of the time the editor will assign each one of the reporters on what would be our assignment, what story to cover and the details. Basically you know what you are going to cover. In terms of rumours, let’s say the rumour is interesting, your job is to investigate whether such rumours are true or false. Start by contacting your source to know whether it is true or not, yet if it is true you may proceed to collect further information from your contact that are related with the issues. This is where you must be an investigative journalist.

Question: Did anyone inspire you to be in this field?
Answer: My previous lecturer. He was a journalist before and he always shared what he had gone through when he was a journalist before and that sort of things had captivated me to be like him.

Question: In your opinion, is it difficult to be successful in this field?
Answer: In my opinion, it’s not difficult if we like the job. If we like this job, we can face all the difficulties and do well for success.

Question: Besides journalism, do you ever think of involving yourself in other fields such as public relations, broadcast journalist or maybe as an actor?
Answer: Broadcast journalist, not really. Because I do not like to see myself on TV, maybe public relations or corporate communication would be my choice because I would not want to be in journalism forever especially when I am getting older.

Question: Within five years, what do you expect in your life, especially in your career?
Answer: It is either I will be a well-known journalist who have covered many big news both inside and outside our country, if not I might change my path from journalism to public relations or corporate communication.

Question: Since the Sun is a distributed free daily newspaper, how does it maintain its profits?
Answer: Well, although it is a free newspaper, but the Sun still maintains its profits through advertising and marketing.

Question: Can you give some advice for those who are interested to join journalism field?
Answer: Firstly, it is a tough job. So, before joining the industry, get yourselves prepared in terms of both physical and mental. Being yelled at and scolded is the basic thing in a career of a reporter. You must therefore get ready with that sort of thing.

Second is passion. As a journalist it is vital to be passionate in this career because without passion we would not perform well in this field.

Thirdly, you must be hardworking. News would not come to you but you must look for the news. If you do this you will succeed in this field.

Fourthly, please be patient. It is not easy to get news, especially involving different angles. Last but not least,  and  the most important thing is contact. Be friendly and have contact with as many people as you can. Even though he is just a security guard, but who knows he could be your source of news.

Lastly, know our intention in what we are doing, whether in journalism or in other field.***
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Asikin Ali

A small fish in a big pond ..

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