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Talking it over - The anatomy of a journalist

Journalists come in all shapes, sizes, personalities, races and religion. However, I have found that there are some characteristics that all journalists must have.

Broad shoulders to carry the news of the world. Those shoulders need to be wide enough to take on local, state and national news. They must carry the weight of passing on news in a fast, concise and accurate manner. Those shoulders have a lot resting on them.

Soft heart encased in steel. Jounalists need to be kind-hearted, caring and understanding. They need to feel the story and put that feeling into their stories and pictures. At the same time, a journalist needs to protect that heart from jabs aimed at destroying them.

Arms and legs that can go in different directions at the same time. There are so many times when a multitude of events are taking place at the same time. A journalist needs to learn how to balance time and events and find a way to cover each thing, sometimes at the exact same time.

Brain like a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia combined. Each story reported needs to have the proper grammer and information within. Knowledge is a powerful tool in reporting.

Eyes and ears like Superman. You need to be able to see and hear even the tiniest clue that could lead to a good story. The eyes must also be able to capture the best pictures that sometimes tell a story of their own.

The ability to talk with your fingers. Not all journalists are gifted in public speaking or even day to day conversation. However they can speak volumes with the words put to paper with their fingers.

A nose that can sniff out stories. Sometimes a journalist needs to be a bit nosey in order to find the best stories. Asking lots of questions gets results.

A photographic mind helps journalists tie things together. Digging into archives and historical material to find something that you know is there somewhere.

A stomach that can handle some of the worst sites, smells and conditions. Some scenes and conditions related to stories can be out of the ordinary. Sometimes you have to climb to high places or go into deep trenches to get the right story.

Stamina to work long hours, day after day, when a news story breaks. The day never seems to end for a journalist. Even after leaving the office, they are always on the look-out for new ideas, photo opportunities and ways to present a good story.

This week I will be joining several other journalists at a convention where we will gain valuable information to fine-tune and perfect our methods. We will learn, reflect, recognize accomplishments and share ideas, all with a common goal, to report the news in the best way we can.