Journalists research, write, edit and present news stories, features and articles for use on TV and radio or within magazines, journals and newspapers.
Journalism work typically involves:
- generating ideas and researching articles
- verifying information
- attending relevant events and assignments
- carrying out interviews
- writing and editing news stories or features to deadlines
- building a network of contacts in different areas
- liaising with other staff such as artists, photographers and presenters
Typical employers of journalists include newspapers, magazines, television companies, websites, radio stations and periodicals publishers.
In this competitive sector you will need to be able to demonstrate multimedia skills and have the ability to work across all of the different platforms.
To read more about the range of jobs within this field and to learn more about trends in the industry visit the Prospects graduate media jobs page and journalism.co.uk.
Entry routes into journalism
Due to the limited number of vacancies and the popularity of this area of work, competition for journalism jobs is fierce. Pre-entry experience is essential whichever entry route you decide to take.
There are three main entry routes into journalism:
There are a range of postgraduate journalism courses but competition for places at the best courses can be tough (those accredited by the NCTJ or BJTC).
While a postgraduate qualification isn’t essential, it’ll give you a good grounding in writing, interviewing, sub-editing, design and layout, shorthand and media law. To give you an idea of the popularity and usefulness of these courses, 73% of qualified journalists are NCTJ-trained.
Getting experience in journalism
Work experience can be hard to find in this field but the key is to be persistent. Above all, future employers will look for evidence of sustained interest in and commitment to journalism.
Speculative applications are essential and often a very effective way of getting experience. Approach local newspapers, radio stations and magazines/publishers. Send a tailored CV and cover letter. For ideas of who to contact visit Magazine Subscriptions.
Build experience by writing for student publications, local papers and free magazines, online publications and blogs
The University of Birmingham offers work experience bursaries for all undergraduate students of all years, including international students. For more details visit the internship funding pages.
Careers Connect advertises writing opportunities for students.
The BBC/ITV/Channel 4/The Guardian/The Times etc. offer work experience schemes. These are always worth applying for, but extremely competitive.
Personal branding and your online presence are increasingly important for journalists. Use our LinkedIn support to create a professional profile and make sure you’re on social media as this is now where news stories break, so follow journalists, organisations and employers in your area of interest.
Create a blog - this is an excellent way of showing commitment to current affairs or other topics of interest
Finding a journalism job or an internship
Most of these are also worth looking at for work experience too:
Smaller organisations and newspapers don’t always have a formalised work experience scheme, so if you know someone who can get you in the office for a week, use that to your advantage. When you leave, make sure everyone knows who you are and that channels of contact are kept open. LinkedIn is especially useful for this!
Creative Access is a charity set up to help tackle the under-representation of ethnic minorities in media. They offer opportunities in a range of areas.
Find out more about a career in journalism
There are many excellent websites offering lots of information and advice about a career in journalism. Remember that many of these websites below will also be on social media and following them on Facebook/Twitter is also worthwhile:
Not found what you're looking for? Contact Careers Network.