Newspaper reporting, as these chapters have shown, is a craft with rules and procedures, with techniques and deadlines. But it is not a job for anyone. Unlike practitioners in other professions, the reporter, even before formal training begins, has to have a flair with words and the urge to communicate in words.
There has to be a curiosity about the world around and a sympathy – empathy even – with people and their situation and activities. It is a job big in human terms and human contact; a job that cannot exist merely at a desk or at the end of a telephone. If you’re looking for a nine-to-five routine with a useful salary cheque at the end of the month it would be better to take up dentistry or the civil service.