Activity 7

ACTIVITY 7

Journalists, in order to perform well in their chosen profession, have to learn how to overcome the different barriers to effective to communication that they encounter on a daily basis. After all, communication plays a central role in the fulfilment of their responsibility to inform and educate the public.

In my short experience working as a field reporter for a national daily, I feel that I have already been exposed to a number of noises that sometimes affect the message that I try to convey to the different people that I meet, vice versa.

Of course these include the most common physical noises that most of us encounter – the blaring sound from a radio or a television, the disruptive noise from a nearby construction site, or the chatter from a group of high school students on the next table in a coffee shop.

I often encounter, and get annoyed with these kinds of physical noise, when I am in the middle of writing an article or during an interview with a source.

As a reporter, other forms of physical noise that I abhor include connection problems that interrupt an important phone call, as well as the uncomfortable, cramped spaces during coverage of sensational news stories (imagine getting crushed in the middle of a sea of reporters and cameramen who all want to get a piece of “top story of the day”).

Other noises that I encounter include:

  • Cultural diversity (especially during out-of-town/out-of-the-country coverage)
  • Language barriers
  • Negative or positive perception toward the source
  • The pressure of beating the deadline
  • Stereotypes
  • Stress and current state-of-mind
  • Jargon

Of all of these things on the list, I consider jargon as one of the most challenging types of noises that I have to deal with.

There are instances, for example, when I am tasked to cover legal proceedings or medical-related activities, which would require me to do additional research to get acquainted with the technical terms or jargon that I encounter during the coverage.

And while this kind of barrier is easily solved (there are numerous resources available), the fact that you have to spend a lot of time doing so is physically and emotionally taxing, especially if you are aware – at the back of your mind – that you have a deadline to beat.

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