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Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Journalist Careers

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09/08/2017
James Thornhill
PIN

Without a doubt journalists are some of the most important people in shaping the world we live in – most of the information we consume comes from them.

Journalists tell stories across newspapers, magazines, radio, television and online to help people understand what is happening in the world.

As a journalist you will be required to research, investigate and produce content for the media platform you work for using a range of specific skills depending on whether you work in print, online or in broadcast journalism.

The job market for journalists in incredibly competitive but in the internet age with blogging, smart phones and other avenues it is easier than ever to set out your stall as a new journalist.

With a growing number of apprenticeships in the field there good alternative routes into journalism careers aside from attending university.

How much can I earn as a Journalist?

Salaries for journalists can vary widely from company to company and across different roles but starting salaries tend to range between £15,000 and £26,000, but can be as low as £12,000 for some roles.

With experience salaries can be anywhere between £18,000 and £65,000+ (for top Editors).

Many young people work in unpaid or minimum wage internships or entry-level jobs to gain experience and help get a fully paid position.

People working as freelance journalists get paid a variety of fees depending on their experience and ability. For example magazine journalists earn an average of £700 per £1,000 for a large magazine, or £420 for a smaller magazine.

For more rates visit the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) website.

These figures are intended as a guide only.

What qualifications do I need to be a Journalist?

Graduates from all degree backgrounds can progress in to a journalism career.

Postgraduate study is not essential but, in the extremely competitive journalism jobs market, a postgraduate qualification can put you at an advantage. In fact in Broadcast Journalism it is the most common route into the profession.

Many institutions offer postgraduate courses accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) that provide both theoretical and practical experience.

What skills do I need to be a Journalist?

Different roles require many different skills but in general journalists need a number of key skills to succeed:

·        Research skills

·        Organisational skills

·        Excellent written and oral communication skills

·        Team work

·        IT skills

·        Analytical skills

·        Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines

·        Interviewing and listening skills

·        Interest in current affairs

·        Good general knowledge

What experience do I need to get a job in Journalism?

Experience is essential for getting a job in journalism. Even with the right qualifications employers will expect to see a portfolio, or show reel, of work and evidence that you have actively sought out experience with media outlets.

Most media outlets, big and small, offer work placements to young people but not in a structured way so contact media companies directly and ask if they have placements on offer.

The National Student offers aspiring journalists a platform to gain experience and a portfolio of work. Their past contributors now work at places like the Daily Mail, MTV, the Times, LBC, the One Show (BBC) and Metal Hammer magazine.

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