Journalists must have a desire to find and write stories that are important to the people. There is a great deal of power that comes with being a journalist, as they decide and create what it is the public should see or read about. Journalists can be seen as “watchdogs” for the ordinary man or woman.
People trust journalists with facts, whether they are being given or received. This trust must be honored. One should never use journalism for selfish needs, but rather for improving the life of other people. Journalists must have a passion for the truth and exposing that truth to the people. But desire alone will not make a successful journalist.
On the technical side, a journalist needs to have excellent research skills and an ability to generate information and good content. They must be able to ask the right questions and understand situations quickly in order to produce coherent stories.
Like any writer, journalists should have a passion for language and all the ways it can be used. It's not just about the facts, but also about the way they are presented. Journalists need to have excellent writing and grammatical skills, and must always aim for accuracy. The best way of ensuring accuracy is to have a system for keeping track of facts, perhaps in a notebook. This way, when events are taking place, a journalist has a quick way to gather the information that he or she will use later.
To gather this information, journalists need to have determination (though sometimes perceived as aggressiveness) to ask all the appropriate and necessary questions until all the facts have been addressed. This may mean asking the hard questions that could upset people. It may be painful but there is respect to gain in the end. There is a simple rule: be polite but persistent.