When you see the world journalist it is often thought that all journalists do the same thing and write the same things but really, it is such a broad area.
There are many different areas of journalism you can work in in relation to the content you’re writing or reporting but also there is an option of radio, television or print journalism.
Experience is a vital part of journalism and building up a portfolio of your work. Both of these will stand to you should you go for a job in the field. Postgraduate courses will add to higher chances in a lot of cases too.
Whether you are looking to build on your current journalism career or looking to break into journalism, we have examples of some you can choose from below.
Duties of a journalist
The duties of a journalist will change depending on what area you work – broadcast or writing. There are often different areas you can work in journalism such as news, sport, politics, travel, food and other niche areas.
If you work in broadcasting your duties will be slightly different. As a journalist you may often work unsocial hours such as evenings, late nights, very early morning, long shifts and weekends. It is a career for those who are passionate about journalism and are flexible with their time. In the likes of small local papers, you may work 9-6 Monday to Friday and if you’re on the sports side of writing, evening and weekend games are common. We’ll take a look at some examples of duties carried out by journalists.
- Assemble news stories
- Gather information from multiple sources
- Research for articles
- Read press releases
- Carry out interviews
- Transcribe interviews
- Build relationships and contacts
- Build a trusting relationship with sources
- Write, edit and submit work
- Attend events/sports games/breaking news areas
- Proofread work
- Fact checks – ensure all information is correct before publishing/reporting
- Be aware of defamation laws and relevant law to journalism
- Liaise with others such as sub-editors, senior reporters, junior reporters, editors, photographers
There are many courses to choose from across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. There may also be guidelines and rules in place due to Covid-19. Some courses available in this area include:
Multi-platform and Mobile Journalism
The world of journalism is ever changing and an important change in recent years is online journalism. Postgraduate courses in multi-platform and mobile journalism will help students to gain the necessary skills to adapt their writing style to online platforms. Key focuses include video, online, audio and social media skills. You will also learn relevant skills for adapting to new technologies and adapt specific technical skills.
Broadcast and Digital Journalism UK
It is clear that the digital world is very important in today’s journalism as many courses place focus on that including postgraduate courses in broadcast and digital journalism. Students will develop skills in relation to broadcast journalism as well as focusing on UK journalism practices, political systems and media law.
There are also courses available in Broadcast and Digital Journalism International, Professional Writing, Film, Media, New Media, Creative Studies and Data Journalism and Journalism.
Entry requirements will differ from course to course and university to university so it is important to research your particular course in detail to ensure you meet the criteria to apply. You will need a bachelor’s degree to apply for almost all courses. Some may require a 2.2 degree while others may require a 2.1 degree. A degree in journalism or a related field is a plus but many courses accept a degree of any kind. Full course overviews can be found online for more information.
Salaries can differ depending on your employment, experience, seniority and location. The average salary of a journalist in the UK is believed to be around £33,383. This can change depending on the company you work for and if you are freelancing. Freelance writers are believed to be paid around £8.54 an hour. If you are a freelance journalist, often there will be a set rate per freelancer in each company/business/newspaper/radio station. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only.
Skills and requirements
Skills that can be helpful in this area include:
- Strong communication skills
- Excellent people skills
- The ability to build relationships with people
- Excellent writing skills
- The ability to ask inquisitive questions
- A curious mind
- Enthusiasm for work
- Strong time management
- Attention to detail