How to become a Journalist…
In the ol’ days, being a journalist would have generally limited you to working for a local or national newspaper, magazine or journal whereas currently with online media in full swing, the types of mediums a journalist can write or report for have increased considerably. However with the decline in print titles sales, there has also been a decline in the numbers of actual job opportunities within this industry.
Apologies for stating the obvious here, but in essence a journalist’s job is to research and write newsworthy stories for publication. A journalist will generally focus and specialise in one area, be it News, Business, Sport, or Entertainment, etc. So if you fancy yourself as a Journalist and have the writing skills to match, check out our basic guidelines below that will hopefully help you out along the way…
It is fair to say that a Degree may aid your chances in an industry that does value an education based background. While a degree in Journalism, English or a media related topic is very relevant, you may also want to consider a degree in a business related sector, if you want to specialise in certain journalistic fields. Having said that, a degree is only really worthwhile if it trains you to think and write better. On top of a degree, or otherwise, you really need to prove that you can write, and write well at that! An editor or whoever is deemed responsible for selecting staff, will want to see real talent and ability. This is where gaining experience and writing credit, may aid any job application that you make.
Start gaining practical experience as soon as you start to think a career in Journalism could be for you. If you are still at school or University, check if there is a school or University publication that you can write for. Set yourself up with a blog, or identify if there are any existing blogs which may be happy to take guest writers and contributions. Call into your local newspaper’s office and check if they offer work experience (paid or unpaid). In reality, do as much as you physically can to build up a portfolio of newsworthy stories and snippets of the work you have had published or credited for. If you are considering a career in Journalism and you have long left school or University, gaining experience and practical examples of your published writing, will be just as important!
Type of Person
Journalism is an industry which has taken a real knocking over the last few years and is an industry that is built on hard truths and criticism. Coincidentally to succeed as a journalist, you will also need to be able to take criticism, handle rejection and knocks and in essence have a thick skin, as well as being able to cope with stress. You will also not generally work standard 9-5 hours and may need to work long hours, unsociable shifts and deal with pretty unsociable people! It would be good to have an inquisitive nature and a tenacious attitude!
Skills to become a Journalist
- Research ability and skills
- Writing & Communication skills & an excellent comprehension of the English language
- Ability to get on with people and make an impression
- Passion and tenacity!
How to become a Journalist?
If you want to work as a Journalist, expect to have to put in a lot of hard work and effort to make this a reality. Expect to have knock backs and to be told no many times, before you gain a permanent or contract job. Unless you want to work for a local paper or publication, the main national papers in the UK are generally based around London so prepare to have to relocate if working for a National Newspaper is your ideal. If you would be happy writing for an online publication, location may be less of an issue, however you should still expect to have to demonstrate a strong portfolio of work to be considered for some of the main players. An education up to Degree level is ideal, but not essential – although it may certainly benefit your cause…
Still interested in becoming a Journalist? Good luck and hopefully this tips will help you out along the way!
Looking for a job, but not too sure what career path to follow? Check out TheEmployable “How to Become” career directory