Journalists: Definition, Characteristics, Nickname, Tasks, and Types

Journalists: Definition, Characteristics, Nickname, Tasks, and Types

One of the national press figures who served as Deputy Chairperson of the Press Council, Sabam Leo Batubara, once revealed a journalist's measuring instrument was from a journalistic work, not a press card.

People who have press cards are not necessarily journalists. Press cards - Press Cards, ID Cards - are easy to make, easy to fake too.

Pengertian, Karakteristik, dan Jenis-Jenis Wartawan
Then, who are the reporters? What do journalists understand? What are the characteristics of a reporter? What is the job? What types of reporters? This article will discuss it.

In summary, journalists are people who work in a media or press publication, obey a journalistic code of ethics, and master journalism, especially reporting techniques and writing news.

Journalists are a profession because they require certain skills and have freedom in work, and have a code of ethics like other professionals.

Understanding Journalists

Journalists - also called journalists ( journalists ) and reporters - in language means "people whose jobs are looking for and composing news to be published in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television; news reporters; journalists" (KBBI).

The Cambridge Dictionary means journalists as "someone who writes news or news articles for newspapers or magazines or broadcasts them on radio or television".

Journalists are people who collect, write or distribute the latest news or information to the public. Journalist work is called journalism. ( Wikipedia )

Formal understanding of journalists, according to Article 1 of Law No. 40/1999: "Journalists are people who regularly carry out journalistic activities."

In Law No. 11 of 1996 Article 1 and 3 are stated, journalism is a job, activity, or business that is related to the collection, processing, and broadcasting in the form of facts, opinions, reviews, images, etc. for companies, radio, television, and films.".

According to Press Council Regulation No. 01 of 2018 concerning the Role of Competence of Journalists, journalists are people who regularly carry out journalistic activities in the form of seeking, obtaining, possessing, storing, processing and conveying information in the form of writing, voice, images, sounds and images, and data and graphics, as well as other forms using print media, electronic media, and all other types of channels.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) defines journalists as a profession or naming someone whose work relates to the contents of the mass media, including columnists, freelance writers, photographers, and editorial graphic design.

Definition of journalists according to the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI): "Journalists are parties related to writing activities, including seeking data (research, coverage, verification) to complete the report". Journalist organizations require journalists to be objective, this is different from the author column that can express its subjectivity.

Understanding of other reporters:


  • Journalists are people who produce journalistic work and use journalistic language with short features (not long-winded), solid (avoiding unnecessary information and language), simple (using simple single sentences without changing meaning), interesting (using the word- words or sentences that follow the development of the language and avoid cliché words), clear (not using a word that is double) and straightforward (avoiding the language of metaphor) (Rosihan Anwar).
  • Journalists are people who have activities to process and spread the news to a wide audience. Then Djen Amar added about the objectives of the journalistic work that had been made by journalists; wide audience. (M. Djen Amar).
  • Journalists are people who move to collect, write, interpret, process and disseminate general information systematically to be published in newspapers, magazines and broadcast by certain broadcast stations. (Roland E. Wolseley). 


Characteristics of Journalists: Professional Standards


The characteristics of journalists are reflected in the sense of the reporters above. A journalist meets the criteria or standards of the journalist profession as follows:

1. Mastering Journalistic Skills

A journalist must have the expertise (expertise) to write news in accordance with journalistic principles. He must master the technique of writing news, features, and articles.

Therefore, a journalist is actually a person who has undergone specialized medical education or at least has attended basic journalistic training. He must be well trained, well-trained in journalistic skills which include, news search techniques and writing, in addition to a good understanding of the meaning of news.

He must understand what news is, news value, kinds of news, how to look for it, and general rules of news writing.

The Press Council in the journalists 'competency guidelines stated that journalists' competencies included the ability to understand press ethics and law, news conception, news compilation and editing, and language.

In the latter case, it also concerns the ability to do so, as well as technical abilities as a professional journalist, namely seeking, obtaining, storing, possessing, processing and making and broadcasting news.

Key journalist competencies consist of 11 ability categories, namely:


  1. Understand and obey journalistic ethics
  2. Identify related problems that have news value;
  3. Build and maintain networks and lobbies;
  4. Mastering the language;
  5. Collect and analyze information (facts and data) and news material information;
  6. Presenting news;
  7. Editing news;
  8. Designing rubric or news channel channels and/or slot program reports;
  9. Editorial management;
  10. Determine policy and direction of reporting; and
  11. Using news technology equipment. 

2. Working in a media

A person can have journalistic expertise and competence in the field of journalism, for example, academics, communication experts, bloggers, or PR practitioners. However, he could only be called a journalist if he worked in a media, in this case, a media publishing company or press institution.

By working in a media, he will fulfill the requirements of journalists to recruit the Press Law, namely "regularly carrying out journalistic activities".

However, not everyone who works in the media is called a journalist. Media company employees called journalists are those who are in charge of the editorial department, starting with the editor in chief, editor, reporter, photographer, to the correspondent.

3. Mastering the Field of Coverage

Ideally, a journalist must be a "generalist", which is to understand and master everything, so that he is able to write well and care about anything. But most importantly, he must master the field of coverage well.

Economic reporters, for example, he must master economic terms and theories. Criminal reporters, he must understand everything related to the world of crime, such as mentions, terms or criminal cases, and so on.

If a graduate of law, then assigned to cover sports events, then the first step that must be done by the concerned is to learn the world of sports and the terms that apply in the world.

4. Comply with the Journalistic Code of Ethics

Professional journalists uphold journalistic ethics. In Indonesia itself, journalistic ethics have been summarized in the Journalistic Code of Ethics that has been determined by the Press Council.

Compliance with the code of ethics is one of the characteristics of professionalism, in addition to expertise, attachment, and freedom. 

With the code of ethics guidelines, journalists are expected not to confuse facts and opinions in writing news, not writing slanderous, sadistic, and obscene news, and most importantly, not "pawning their freedom" by receiving envelopes.

The characteristics of journalists were also expressed by Indonesian press figures Adinegoro (1961) and Mochtar Lubis (1963).

According to Adinegoro, good journalists must have a number of characteristics that are absolutely planted and nurtured by a journalist:


  • Deep interest in society and what happens to people.
  • Friendly attitude towards all kinds of people and good at speaking and writing in Indonesian - even better if you master various foreign languages.
  • Have the power of researchers who are strong and loyal to the truth.
  • Having a sense of responsibility and thoroughness.
  • Willingness does more than what is assigned.
  • Ability to work fast.
  • Always be objective.
  • Have broad interests.
  • Has sharp analytical power.
  • Have a reactive attitude.
  • Research in observing.
  • Likes to read.
  • Like to enrich the language. 


According to Mochtar Lubis (1963), journalists must be able to make their reports in such a way that the news they present becomes "alive" and the reader can feel and see what he writes as if he is participating in seeing or experiencing it himself.

Journalist nickname

Journalists have many nicknames, referring to the character or character and the task of looking for and making the news.

The nickname or character of the reporter is well put forward by Napoleon Bonaparte. He described the figure of the journalist as follows:

"The reporter is fussy, criticized, advisers, supervisors, authorities, and national teachers. I feared four newspapers more than a thousand bayonets on the battlefield ".

I have discussed the journalist's character in the post. Journalists are Nagging, Critics, and Nation Teachers.

The journalist nickname was also stated by James Gordon Bennet, founder of The New York Herald, as quoted   Mochtar Lubis (1963: 8).   He   said the reporter was half a diplomat and half a detective "

Half a diplomat means that journalists must be good at getting along with all people from different walks of life and different backgrounds with different characteristics and characteristics. Half detective means journalists have a nose for news so they can detect what will happen and be made the news.

Nickname or other designation of journalists include:


  • Personnel = people who work in press institutions
  • Press worker = press person.
  • Media crew = people who work in the mass media
  • Media personnel = media crew
  • Pewarta = reporter, newsman
  • Ink = old nickname refers to ink as one of the writing materials. 


In Blur's book: How to Know the True in The Age of Information Overload, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel dub journalists as follows:


  1. Authenticator: checks and ensures the authenticity of news or information.
  2. Sense Maker: explains whether information makes sense or not.
  3. Investigator: oversee power and dismantle crime
  4. Witness Bearer: researches and monitors certain events and can work with reporters.
  5. Empowerer: mutual empowerment between journalists and citizens to produce continuous conversations on both.
  6. Smart Aggregator: intelligent sharing of reliable news sources, enlightening reports, not just the work of the journalist himself.
  7. Organizer: news organization
  8. Role Model: not only works, but journalists must also be role models in the public sphere.

The task of reporters

The job description ( job description ) or the description of the main job of the journalist are two:
  1. Looking for news
  2. Report news. 
In looking for news (reportage), reporters make observations or coverage to the location of events, conduct interviews, and research data.

In reporting the results of their coverage to the public through the media in which they work, journalists write news, features, or broadcast texts (for radio and television reporters).

In carrying out their duties, journalists must adhere to the journalistic code of ethics and/or reporting ethics.

Types of Journalists

The types of reporters are grouped according to the types of media in which they work, based on the editorial organization structure, and based on community assessment due to deviations that occur in the world of journalism.

Based on the media where he works:
  1. Print Media Reporters - newspapers, tabloids, magazines
  2. Broadcast Media Journalist - radio & television
  3. Online Media Reporters - news sites, cyber media.
  4. News Agency journalist - Press News Agency.
  5. Internal Media Journalist - Corporate Journalist; internal public relations media reporter.
Based on the organizational structure or editorial management of the media:
  1. Editor in Chief - the boss of the reporters in the media.
  2. Editors/editors - selectors, appraisers, editors, and determinants of fit / worthy broadcasts whether or not a news reporter made.
  3. Reporter - field reporter in charge of finding, gathering and writing the news.
  4. Correspondent (reporter on duty in the area/abroad)Contributors (freelance reporters who are bound by a media contract) 


Based on the evaluation of the Persad's Council
  1. Professional Journalists - journalists who adhere to the journalistic code of ethics and meet journalists' competency standards.
  2. Special Journalists - journalists who abuse the freedom of the press and their profession to extort or seek money. 
Journalists often call it among the community, including:

  1. Journalist Abal-Abal
  2. Specialist Journalist
  3. Envelope Reporter
  4. Bodong reporter
  5. Bodrex journalist (likes to make a headache)
  6. Muntaber Journalist (Appears without news)
  7. Journalists Without Newspapers (WTS)

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