Without integrity, it doesn't matter how good of a writer the journalist is or how wonderful his sources. Once a reporter is caught plagiarizing or twisting the facts, no one will find him credible as a journalist. Integrity means more than just not plagiarizing or fudging the facts, though; integrity means being committed to uncovering the truth regardless of the difficulties involved and reporting it in a fair, respectful manner.
Before a reporter interviews any sources, he needs to do the background work. He finds information online from reputable websites, from print articles and from other reporters. He prepares his questions carefully and checks with his subject to make sure he correctly understands what the person is saying. He talks to other people to clarify and validate what the source has said, and he follows up on any contradictions. He reads any pertinent documents, such as public records, and follows where the trail leads him.
A good newspaper journalist is observant. He notices the details that give richness to a story: the expressions on the face of the subjects, the clothes they are wearing or the style of music playing in the background. He notices the amount of traffic in the neighborhood, the types of shops and houses, whether it's crowded or quiet. In short, he notices everything. Not every detail will make its way into the story, but observing the details will help him write a fuller, more compelling story.
Accuracy is vital. A good journalist verifies all the major details of his story, including addresses, numbers and the spelling of names. For a controversial story, he talks with people on all sides of the issue to make sure he is not presenting a slanted view of the issue. He does not let his own opinions cloud his reporting. He double checks his work before he submits it to the editor.
A newspaper journalist remembers he is dealing with real people, sometimes when they are at a difficult point in their lives. He is respectful of their feelings even when he must ask them hard questions. Journalism can be a tool to right social injustices by revealing them to the public, and a reporter's empathy can help him relate to the downtrodden.
Journalists are usually not a popular group. By reporting the facts, they are bound to offend some of the people almost all the time. A journalist needs to be tough enough to get the story even when people are giving him a hard time, and he needs to be tough enough to deal with the complaints that will inevitably come his way from time to time if he's doing his job correctly.
Daffodil International University (DIU)