Last Updated on July 17, 2023
If you’re looking for an engaging and exciting career, then have you considered becoming a journalist? Journalism is a field that allows you to travel and explore new topics, while also providing you with the opportunity to help inform the public.
In this blog post, we will discuss what it takes to become a journalist and provide you with some resources to get started. So if you’re ready to start your journalistic journey, keep reading!
Journalists are tasked with researching and writing about a wide range of topics for both print and digital media outlets.
They may focus on covering specific events or issues, or they may work as general assignment reporters.
No matter what their specialty, all journalists share a common goal: to inform the public about the world around them.
Some of the greatest benefits of becoming a journalist include the:
- chance to travel and work from different locations including internationally
- opportunity to always meet new people
- chance to always work on new stories, i.e. the job is never the same day by day
What Skills You Might Need to Be a Journalist
If you’re thinking about becoming a journalist, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First and foremost, you’ll need to be an excellent writer. After all, journalism is all about communication.
You’ll also need to be able to think critically and work well under pressure.
Another important quality for journalists is curiosity.
Successful reporters are always asking questions and looking for ways to improve their understanding of the world around them.
1. Target a Topic Area Within Journalism
If you are interested in becoming a journalist, it is important to first learn about the field.
Journalism is a broad field that covers many different topics.
You might well already have a clear idea of what type of journalist you want to be, i.e. you might have a passion for dance and arts and want to be an arts & culture journalist, for example.
There are reporters who cover politics, sports, business, entertainment, and many other topics.
It is important to find the area of journalism that interests you the most and focus your research on that topic.
2. Consider Doing a Degree in Journalism or a Related Field
There are a few different ways to become a journalist, but most involve completing a degree in journalism or a related field.
Most journalists have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field such as communications or English.
A journalism degree will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in the field.
Once you have your degree, you will need to start working your way up the ladder by getting experience in the field.
If you are not interested in pursuing a degree, there are some alternative ways to get into the field (see below).
3. Start Working Your Way Up the Ladder
Either with or without a degree, you will have to make yourself known in the field and build your experience before you can progress.
You can do this by working as an intern or entry-level reporter for a news organization.
Once you have some experience under your belt, you can then begin applying for jobs at larger news organizations.
You might want to consider any voluntary or paid opportunities to write such as for a university publication or for your local community newspaper.
Try and get involved and build your experience as early on as you can.
4. Get Involved in Investigative Journalism
Investigative journalism is a type of journalism that digs deep into a story to uncover the truth.
Journalists in this area often work on stories that are important to the public and that hold the government and other institutions accountable.
If you are interested in this type of journalism, there are many ways to get involved including by starting to work on local stories and then moving up to national or international stories.
5. Work for a Major News Organization
Although not easy to achieve, if you really want the chance to travel and experience more of the world as a journalist, working for one of the major news organizations is a great target.
Working for a big news organization will give you the opportunity to work on high-profile stories and reach a large audience.
It is also important to build up a network of contacts when you are working for a major news organization.
These contacts can help you get jobs at other organizations or give you tips on stories.
Here are a few interesting articles on how to get into larger news organizations:
6. Be Prepared to Work Long Hours
Journalism is a demanding profession and journalists often work long hours.
If you are not prepared to work long hours, then a career in journalism may not be right for you.
7. Be Persistent
Journalism is a competitive field and it can be difficult to get your foot in the door.
If you are interested in becoming a journalist, you need to be persistent and keep trying even if you face rejection.
Eventually, you will find an opportunity that is right for you.
8. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is one of the best things you can do to further your career in journalism.
A mentor can give you advice, help you connect with people in the industry, and give you feedback on your work.
If you don’t know anyone who works in journalism, there are many ways to find a mentor.
You can attend journalism events, join professional organizations, or take classes from journalists.
You can take a look at sites such as Women in Journalism and look for people that you can relate to and want to get in touch with, to ask if they might consider mentoring you.
9. Keep Up With the Latest News in Your Chosen Field
Journalists need to be up-to-date on the latest news in their field.
One way to stay up-to-date is to read the news every day.
You can also sign up for newsletters, listen to podcasts, and follow journalists on social media.
10. Be Tech-Savvy Especially with Journalistic Tech
Technology is constantly changing and journalists need to be up-to-date on the latest tools and platforms.
One way to stay ahead of the curve is to attend conferences and workshops on new journalistic technologies.
You can also read articles and blog posts about the latest trends in journalism.
11. Join a Professional Organization
Professional organizations can help you connect with other journalists and stay up-to-date on the latest news in your field.
There are many different types of organizations, such as the:
- Society of Professional Journalists (USA)
- British Association of Journalists (UK)
- and the National Association of Black Journalists, to name but a few.
Joining a professional organization is a great way to network and build your career.
12. Be a Lifelong Learner
Journalism is an ever-changing field and journalists need to be lifelong learners.
One way to stay ahead of the curve is to take classes and participate in professional development opportunities.
You can also read articles and books about journalism to learn new skills.
If you are looking for a degree in tourism these sources might be useful:
Or for journalism jobs:
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