- Types of journalism
- Journalism career path
- What do journalists do?
- Journalism salaries
- Work-life balance
- Pros and cons of being a journalist
- Qualifications & training
- Key graduate journalism employers
- Related jobs to journalism
- More information
Journalism is a highly-rewarding, fast-paced career that attracts graduates from all kinds of backgrounds. Journalists are the reason we know about the world - from being on the ground, reporting on breaking news, to breaking the news themselves and exposing key stories the general public should be aware of.
Interested in a career in journalism? Explore current journalism opportunities and take the first step towards a career in this exciting sector.
Types of journalism
Print journalism is one of the longest-standing mediums through which we consume news. This medium includes broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, as well as magazines. As the world has become more digitally focused, print journalism has declined and several traditionally print-focused newspapers have moved to online platforms.
Broadcast journalism includes mediums such as TV and radio. Traditionally, people would get their information on what is going on in the world via this means, by sitting down at their TV or radio and listening to scheduled programming of a certain news show.
As technology has become an ever-important part of our lives, Digital Journalism has become one of the main ways in which we consume news. Examples of this type of journalism include the online news websites through which many of us consume news.
Within each type of journalism listed above, there are various areas you can work in. Here are a few examples:
- Investigative journalism: Within this, you might be uncovering important stories and breaking the news yourself and digging into stories.
- International news: International news outlets cover breaking news around the world and make sure that their global audience is up to date with important news stories.
- On-the-day: You could be reporting on news as it happens, covering scheduled events or local occurrences.
- Arts & entertainment: If you have an interest in popular culture, this area of journalism may be for you. Within Arts & Entertainment, you might be reporting on celebrity happenings, cultural events and things happening in the wider world of media, for example, TV shows and movies.
Other areas of journalism include business & economics, sports, science, politics, technology and opinion pieces.
What do journalists do?
The types of tasks and responsibilities you might be expected to undertake as a journalist will vary depending on what type of journalism you’re working in. However, there are a few tasks you can expect to come across as you navigate the world of journalism.
- Generating ideas for news stories or digging into and uncovering news stories
- Putting together story pitches to show to editors
- Thoroughly researching stories, collecting evidence and make sure that the sources you’re using are legitimate
- Interviewing and talking to people about their experiences
- Writing scripts, news reports and online articles
- Within broadcast journalism, working with film and technical crews when shooting on-location for important news stories
- Working to tight deadlines, especially if reporting on breaking news
- Working with film crews, producers and editors to put together news segments
- Working with external parties such as lawyers or government bodies to ensure you’re complying with laws and industry best practices
- Creating video and written content yourself when needed
- Editing together news stories
Journalism career path
Your career path as a journalist will depend largely on what type of journalism you’re in and the types of topics you cover. Across the board, however, most training you receive in order to progress as a journalist will be on the job.
As a broadcast journalist, you may move from assisting mid-senior level reporters, researching and helping in the newsroom to becoming a reporter yourself. This could be within a studio within a scheduled slot or as a correspondent or someone who manages other reporters.
Within print and digital journalism, you may move from being a general reporter to being more senior or a special reporter or correspondent for specific topics.
Within the journalism sector, your progression will largely depend on your passion for the sector and the work you put in. It’s important to take the initiative to learn new skills within journalism, as many successful journalists possess skills across a range of platforms, for example, research and writing as well as video editing and filming. If you wish to work and write internationally, knowing one or two other languages may also give you an advantage and put you ahead when it comes to career progression.
Salaries in journalism can vary widely, depending on the type of journalism, type of news, where you’re based and who you work for.
- Starting journalist salaries tend to range between £14,000 and £20,000 and will generally increase as you gain more experience in the field.
- As you progress within journalism, you can expect to earn up to £60,000 but actual salaries will vary greatly depending on the company you work for. For example, the average salary for a BBC broadcast journalist tends to centre around the £35,000 mark.
Qualifications and training
When it comes to getting into journalism, there are certain degrees that will hold you in good stead, including English, Journalism, Business, Politics and Economics. However, if you haven’t pursued a degree in one of these areas, don’t worry.
Bodies like the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) and the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) offer courses in various aspects of journalism.
- Video editing: These days, many journalists are expected to wear many different hats, especially in broadcast journalism. You may be expected to film and edit together short videos to pitch certain stories or put together whole news segments.
- Writing: Within print and digital journalism, especially, writing is an essential skill you’ll need to have. You’ll need to be able to research and put together compelling stories, regardless of the topic.
- Confidence: As a journalist, you’ll be responsible for presenting important information, whether through print, digital or broadcast mediums. It’s important to be confident in yourself and what you’re saying in order to clearly get the information across.
- Teamwork: Working in journalism involves working across multiple teams. Within print journalism, you’ll need to work with editors, graphic designers and photographers. If you’re a broadcast journalist, you’ll be working with film crews, editors and producers.
- Time management: As a journalist, you’ll often be working to tight deadlines and may have very little notice before you have to break a story. Being able to manage your time effectively is key and knowing what to prioritise and de-prioritise will help you on your way.
- Flexibility: Depending on the type of journalism you decide to pursue, you may need to be highly flexible when it comes to your work schedule. You’ll need to go where the news takes you and may be expected to work on bank holidays and cancel personal plans last minute if needed.
- Personable: As a journalist, you’ll be working with, interviewing and liaising with lots of different people. If the people you work with like, trust and feel comfortable around you, it’s far easier to get the best possible story.
Working shifts is common within journalism and you may be expected to work non-traditional hours, especially if you’re covering international news and need to be in contact with people in different time zones.
Pros and cons of being a journalist
- You get to communicate and interact with a wide variety of people with different backgrounds and experiences
- You are constantly stimulated and learning new information and skills
- You learn how to network effectively and improve your people skills
- You may have the opportunity to travel both nationally and internationally, and frequently
- You can affect change, locally, nationally and globally
- Depending on the type of journalism, you may gain entry to exclusive events
- You’ll live a fast-paced lifestyle and no two days will ever be the same
- You’ll often be away from home, friends and family, especially if you travel internationally
- You will need to be flexible with your time
- If you’re not comfortable working under pressure and to tight deadlines, you may get stressed
- You will be exposed to both the good and bad life has to offer - some journalists are exposed to dangerous or upsetting situations
- As a well-known journalist, you may be subject to public scrutiny
Key graduate journalism employers
There are several journalism employers out there, with many offering programmes specifically for graduates. Click an employer below to see their available opportunities.
Sound like the career for you? Learn more about working in journalism with our Journalism & Publishing Career Path Guide and secure your job with our journalism tips.