A guide to journalism & publishing graduate schemes

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Do you want to be at the cutting edge of breaking news or put your spin on a book cover design that will be seen by thousands? The journalism and publishing sector has a lot to offer graduates and students, so we’ve given you an overview of what to expect from publishing graduate schemes, what skills employers look for, and how you can apply.

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What can I expect from a journalism or publishing graduate scheme? 

A journalism graduate scheme will throw you into the deep end and you’ll be working alongside talented and experienced journalists who know what they’re talking about. Depending on the publication or company, on the first day, you could be reporting on a breaking news story that thousands of people will read, or you could be carrying out research for an upcoming interview with a celebrity. A graduate or training scheme is a great way to get experience and your foot in the door with highly competitive publications. Often, graduate schemes can lead to full-time employment or regular freelance work because of the contacts and relationships you built during your time there. CNN offers a huge range of news and digital internships including sports desk, CNN business, CNN style & travel, and digital sports. Perfect for students and graduates who have, or are working towards a degree, or who can show they have relevant experience. 

Learn about the leading graduate employers in journalism and publishing.

Publishing apprenticeships, internships and graduate schemes are common, even among the big companies like Cambridge University Press or Penguin Books. Publishing graduate schemes run between 6-12 months and will give you an in-depth overview of the main areas of the business - including marketing, sales and project management. For those without a degree, there are several options to get started in publishing. For example, the Level 3 Publishing Assistant apprenticeship, offered by many institutions. From this you will gain experience in the key areas of the publishing process - from receiving the manuscript, to print production or digital formats, sales, and publicity processes. This will leave you ready to gain more hands-on experience through internships or work experience. Learn how you can make it in publishing

What skills and attributes will I need to apply to journalism & publishing graduate schemes?

Key skills:

  • High-quality English grammar, verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to work under pressure 
  • Teamwork
  • Critical analysis 
  • Strong research skills 
  • Resourcefulness 
  • Technical skills: Video or audio editing, shorthand and camera operating experience
  • Leadership skills 

Desirable attributes:

  • Keen interest in the titles you’re working or writing for
  • Determination to succeed
  • Ability to accept criticism
  • Professionalism 
  • Confidence to share ideas
  • Enthusiastic
Learn how to get into journalism with Bright Network Academy

Looking to get into journalism? VICE News Senior Reporter and former BBC West Africa and LGBT Correspondent Ben Hunte takes you through his journey into journalism and how you can get into this exciting sector in this free online learning module.  

When can I apply? And is there a typical application process?

Journalism and publishing graduate schemes start advertising for applications in the Autumn, the first few months of the year, or the summer. Use Bright Network’s career calendar so you never miss an application deadline to your dream graduate scheme. Depending on the company you apply for, they may use processes including an online application, an interview (be ready to present your ideas and show creativity), a real-work task, a group interview, or a panel interview (more than two people). 

Learn about journalism and publishing salary expectations

What graduate journalism and publishing opportunities am I eligible for? 

For journalism graduate schemes at national newspapers, you often need an NCTJ qualification that proves you have the skills and academic experience to work in a newsroom. This qualification is achievable through accredited degree programmes or individually funded programmes. However, internships at other digital or print publications don’t require an NCTJ qualification and will appreciate a degree in a Journalism related subject, but will mostly look for writing experience, dedication to the industry, and bags of ideas. 

Publishing graduate schemes or apprenticeships require you to hold a degree in a related subject like Media Studies or English Language or hold at least two A-Levels (or equivalent). Employers will look for enthusiasm, attention to detail, the ability to make decisions and solid team working skills.

Ready to get into the journalism and publishing sector? 

Now it’s your turn. Browse Internships in journalism and publishing and take the next step towards a career in the sector.