Print journalists include reporters, sub-editors and feature writers who write news and feature articles for newspapers, magazines and periodicals.
Newspaper journalists work for local, regional or national newspapers, reporting on local or national events and subjects of topical interest. Magazine journalists work for business, professional, consumer or specialist consumer publications.
The work falls broadly into two areas:
Journalists take shorthand notes or use equipment to record information, which they then write up in a format that conforms to a 'house style', reads well and is appropriate to the intended readership. They often work closely with photographers.
The work of newspaper and magazine journalists can be similar, but magazine journalists will often write more feature articles, spend time attending editorial meetings to decide what to include in the next issue, and work closely with designers and freelance writers. They research and write news and features suited to the publication's reader profile. Magazine journalists usually work to longer deadlines than newspaper journalists, who often need to respond very quickly to the latest breaking news.
For details of broadcast journalism, please see the Journalist: broadcast profile.
Journalists need to be flexible about their working hours, as following up stories and meeting deadlines often requires working long, irregular hours, including evenings, weekends and public holidays.
Journalists are generally based in open-plan offices which are hectic and noisy most of the time. Time will also be spent out of the office, chasing up stories. There is frequent travel – depending on the publication and type of job this could be fairly local or include overnight absence from home and overseas travel.
To be a journalist you should :
Competition for jobs is fierce in all areas of journalism, particularly on national newspapers and popular consumer magazines.
Newspaper journalists are likely to start their careers with local newspapers. After gaining experience in this way it may be possible to become a sub editor or feature writer, or to progress to a regional daily. There are relatively few openings on national newspapers, but approximately 30 per cent of journalists are freelance, and this type of work may improve your chances of finding a permanent job.
Local newspaper journalists may also move to magazines after gaining a few years' experience.
The magazine industry is mainly based in London and the South-east. Freelance work is common in this sector, and many journalists contribute work to a number of magazines.
With experience you may specialise in an area such as sport or fashion, and within larger newspapers and magazines there may be openings for senior positions such as sub-editor or news editor.
Some journalists work for news agencies, selling stories to all areas of the media. Those who speak a foreign language could become overseas correspondents.
After initial training and work on newspapers or magazines, some journalists move on to radio or television.
If you would like to know anything about Journalist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Periodicals Publishers Association (PPA)
Tel: 020 7404 4166
Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC)
18 Miller's Close
Tel: 01778 440025
The Newspaper Society
74-77 Great Russell Street
Tel: 020 7636 7014