Insights

  1. Journalists should have clear thoughts and opinions because you will be judged and held accountable for them.
  2. Per se, Journalism doesn’t have long working hours, however, the nature of the job keeps you engaged with work always.
  3. You get to meet a lot of amazing people, which expands your viewpoints.
  4. Income of Journalist varies according to medium (TV vs Newspaper), Location (Big City vs Small Town) etc. For example, TV journalists earn better salaries than Newspapers Journalists.
  5. There are no good Institutes, which can help you become a great Journalist. It is mostly learning-on-the-job.
  6. Reading is a must-have hobby if you want to be a journalist.

Personal Details

Name – Vinod Verma

Profession – Freelance Journalist

Age – 52 years

Gender – Male

City – Delhi

Industry – Journalism

LinkedIn – https://in.linkedin.com/in/vinod-verma-033a535a

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in Raipur, went to Kali Badi School and finished my education in B.Sc. (Mathematics).

My father was a primary school teacher, who had a diploma in Homeopathy and used to provide free homeopathic treatment to people on Sundays.

I had three siblings; two sisters and a brother.

I have a wife and two sons; one of whom works as a Holiday consultant while the younger one is still studying.

Who was the most influential figure in your life?

Apart from my father, who was a kind and selfless being, I had a teacher in my school, Mrs. Chaturvedi who used to bring us a magazine ‘Chandra Mallika’, which was published in both Hindi and English. She used to encourage all students to contribute to it, and I; as I was both into art and writing, used to contribute a lot. This led me to become a part of the editorial team in my school, of which I was the head for one year. This was my first ever journalism experience.

Can you brief a little on your career summary?

I worked for Hindi newspaper Deshbandhu as an editor for ten years, starting in 1987. I also wrote reference books on Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Afterward, I moved to Delhi and worked for five years with a team of four people for a literary magazine Akshar Parv.

Following this, I moved to London and worked for BBC for two years, and then moved back to Delhi and started working as an online editor for BBC Hindi website till 2010, after which I worked for Amar Ujala, the third largest Hindi newspaper as an editor and a digital consultant.

In 2013, I started freelancing as a journalist and I’m still engaged in it. I am currently working as a strategy consultant for newspaper Haribhumi and as a journalist for various large media channels like NDTV, BBC, and National Herald, and am also associated with the political party Congress.

Which institutes are best for this kind of career?

I haven’t done a course related to it; therefore, I do not have a clear idea. However, in my opinion, there are no institutes that teach you to be a good journalist.

You become better with practice and the work gets easier over time. Internationally, I’d say BBC is the best institute for learning journalism because working there really gives you a good understanding of all the aspects.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of journalism?

Like I said, there are no institutes which can help you become a great journalist, thus there are no costs associated with it. You can choose any sort of education, and still be here.

How does one start a career in the journalism?

There’s nothing difficult in getting started. I’d started working while I was still in college due to my family conditions.

You can just approach the job vacancies and offer them a piece of your work. If your work satisfies their need, then you can start in Journalism. After that, it is all your hard work and creativity that will take you places.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect in the journalism industry?

For newspaper journalist, here’s the information:

Starting out — 16 to 18 K INR per month

5 years’ experience — 30K INR per month

10 years’ experience — 50 k INR per month

15 years’ experience — 60K INR per month

20+ years’ experience — 70K INR per month

Salary varies according to the city you’re working in and the medium of Journalism. For example, salaries of journalists in television medium have higher salaries than those working for newspapers.

Please describe your work.

While I was still working as an office-journalist, my day consisted of an early morning meeting between 9:15 AM-9:30 AM, writing the editorial for two hours, planning and some other managerial stuff. It’s nothing too difficult if you put your heart in it. My day was relatively simple and no night shifts were necessary.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider a career as a journalist?

  1. This is a job where you can never get bored. It matches up with people who have a lot of enthusiasm.
  2. In my journey, I’ve met a large number of amazing people. And I’d list the pleasure of knowing them as one of the positives.
  3. You have the power to express. If there is someone who needs their voice to be heard, and to help others do the same, there’s no better profession than this.
  4. Your work environment is buzzing with individuals of great caliber. Your work culture is also extraordinary.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering the journalist as a career?

  1. A large amount of your success depends on how hard you work and how talented you are. If you get easily distracted by glitz and glam then this is probably not the job for you.
  2. Apart from working on the job, you need to constantly work on yourself and keep updating yourself with the changing times. This leaves you with lesser time for personal leisure.
  3. Your work-life balance destabilizes as you have to be on work constantly even when you leave your work-space.
  4. You need to always make sure to have clear opinions as you will be held accountable for them.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

The more you read, the better you can write. If you read ten pages worth of information, you’d be able to produce one page in writing. Thus, reading is a must-have hobby.

You must be well-informed and be aware of your surroundings, and what’s going on in the world around you such as your political surroundings, socio-economic factors, social problems, everything; and you should have opinions.

Being opinionated is very important; you should have a message to convey. Your opinions are supposed to be grounded and well-rooted.

Lastly, you should be social. You should meet new people, that’s what really expands your mind. Others’ opinions don’t only give you food for thought, but also give you a new dimension to your thinking.

One of my senior journalists has once said, “If you don’t meet two new people every day, your inner journalist dies.” And that was something worth to live by, as a professional in this field.

What kind of person would be happy in your career?

Any person who has a lot of energy, ability, and desire to express, and has a yearning to learn all sorts of things would find this job satisfying.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

Honestly, I have never given a thought to this question in my life. I am more than happy with my profession.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

My heartfelt advice to anyone who wants to join this field is to know that this is not the kind of profession to be taken lightly. Of course, glamour and fame accompany, but hard-work comes first. That’s the reality to be remembered.

Liked this article? Check out our conversation with Mr. Ramarko Sengupta (Deputy Editor, Times of India)