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Working As a Journalist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Journalist Do

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events happening internationally, nationally, and locally. They report the news for newspapers, magazines, websites, television, and radio.

Duties

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts typically do the following:

  • Research topics and stories that an editor or news director has assigned to them
  • Interview people who have information, analysis, or opinions about a story or article
  • Write articles for newspapers, blogs, and magazines and write scripts to be read on television or radio
  • Review articles for accuracy and proper style and grammar
  • Develop relationships with experts and contacts who provide tips and leads on stories
  • Analyze and interpret information to increase their audiences’ understanding of the news
  • Update stories as new information becomes available

Reporters and correspondents, also called journalists, often work for a particular type of media organization, such as a television or radio station, newspaper, or website.

Those who work in television and radio set up and conduct interviews, which can be broadcast live or recorded for future broadcasts. These workers are often responsible for editing interviews and other recordings to create a cohesive story and for writing and recording voiceovers that provide the audience with the facts of the story. They may create multiple versions of the same story for different broadcasts or different media platforms.

Most television and radio shows have hosts, also called anchors, who report the news and introduce stories from reporters.

Journalists for print media conduct interviews and write articles to be used in newspapers, magazines, and online publications. Because most newspapers and magazines have print and online versions, reporters typically produce content for both versions. Doing so often requires staying up to date with new developments of a story so that the online editions can be updated with the most current information.

Some journalists may convey stories through both broadcast and print media, as well as help manage the organization’s web content. For example, television stations often have a website, and a reporter may post a blog or an article for the website. Similarly, a reporter working for newspapers or magazines may create videos or podcasts that people access online.

Stations are increasingly relying on multimedia journalists to publish content on a variety of platforms, including radio and television stations, websites, and mobile devices. Multimedia journalists typically record, report, write, and edit their own stories. They also gather the audio, video, or graphics that accompany their stories.

Reporters and correspondents may need to maintain a presence on social media networking sites. Many use social media to cover live events, provide additional information for readers and viewers, promote their stations and newscasts, and engage better with their audiences.

Some journalists, particularly those in large cities or large news organizations, cover a particular topic, such as sports, medicine, or politics. Journalists who work in small cities, towns, or organizations may need to cover a wider range of subjects.

Some reporters live in other countries and cover international news.

Some reporters—particularly those who work for print news—are self-employed and take freelance assignments from news organizations. Freelance assignments are given to writers on an as-needed basis. Because freelance reporters are paid for the individual story, they work with many organizations and often spend some of their time marketing their stories and looking for their next assignment.

Some people with a background as a reporter or correspondent work as postsecondary teachers and teach journalism or communications at colleges and universities.

Broadcast news analysts are another type of media occupation. Broadcast news analysts are often called upon to provide their opinion, rather than reporting, on a particular news story. They may appear on television, radio, or in print and offer their opinion to viewers, listeners, or readers. However, most broadcast news analysts come from fields outside of journalism and have expertise in a particularly subject—for example, politics, business, or medicine—and are hired on a contract basis to provide their opinion of the subjects being discussed. Becoming a broadcast news analyst is typically not a career path for new journalists.

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How To Become A Journalist

Employers generally prefer to hire reporters and correspondents who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications along with an internship or work experience from a college radio or television station or a newspaper.

Education

Most employers prefer workers who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. However, some employers may hire applicants who have a degree in a related subject, such as English or political science, and relevant work experience.

Bachelor’s degree programs in journalism and communications include classes in journalistic ethics and techniques for researching stories and conducting interviews. Some programs may require students to take liberal arts classes, such as English, history, economics, and political science, so that students are prepared to cover stories on a wide range of subjects.

Some journalism students may benefit from classes in multimedia design, coding, and programming. Because content is increasingly being delivered on television, websites, and mobile devices, reporters need to know how to develop stories with video, audio, data, and graphics.

Some schools offer graduate programs in journalism and communications. These programs prepare students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field to become journalists.

Other Experience

Employers generally require workers to have experience gained through internships or by working on school newspapers. While attending college, many students seek multiple internships with different news organizations. These internships allow students the opportunities to work on stories and put together a portfolio of their best writing samples or on-air appearances.

Advancement

After gaining more work experience, reporters and correspondents can advance by moving from news organizations in small cities or towns to news organizations in large cities. Larger markets offer job opportunities with higher pay and more responsibility and challenges. Reporters and correspondents also may become editors or news directors.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Journalists must be able to report the news both verbally and in writing. Strong writing skills are important for journalists in all kinds of media.

Computer skills. Journalists should be able to use editing equipment and other broadcast-related devices.

Interpersonal skills. To develop contacts and conduct interviews, reporters need to build good relationships with many people. They also need to work well with other journalists, editors, and news directors.

Objectivity. Journalists need to report the facts of the news without inserting their opinion or bias into the story.

Persistence. Sometimes, getting the facts of a story is difficult, particularly when those involved refuse to be interviewed or provide comment. Journalists need to be persistent in their pursuit of the story.

Stamina. The work of journalists is often fast paced and exhausting. Reporters must be able to keep up with the additional hours of work.

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Journalist Career Paths

Journalist
Editor Owner Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Editor Owner Communications Director
Director Of Public Affairs
7 Yearsyrs
Editor Public Relations Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Social Media Manager Marketing Director
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Public Relations Specialist Public Relations Manager
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Staff Writer Communications Manager Public Relations Director
Media Relations Director
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Public Relations Director
Public Relations And Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Writer Writer And Editor Staff Writer
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Marketing Specialist Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Writer Copy Editor Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Producer Owner Communications Director
Deputy Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Product Manager Brand Manager
Head Of Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Writer Managing Editor Content Manager
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Copy Editor Communications Specialist Public Relations Specialist
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Producer Marketing Manager Social Media Manager
Manager Of Digital Media
5 Yearsyrs
Producer Social Media Manager
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Public Relations Specialist Public Information Officer
Public Affairs Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Communications Consultant Marketing And Communication Consultant
Vice President, Corporate Communications
11 Yearsyrs
Contributing Writer Social Media Strategist Digital Strategist
Digital Communications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Yearly Salary
$53,000
Show Salaries
$33,000
Min 10%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Thomson Reuters
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
Oregon
Avg Experience Level
2.7 years
How much does a Journalist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Journalist in the United States is $53,378 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $84,000.

Real Journalist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Junior Journalist Reuters America LLC Los Angeles, CA Jan 22, 2016 $156,341
Junior Journalist Reuters America LLC Los Angeles, CA Aug 19, 2015 $153,275
Journalist Reuters America LLC Los Angeles, CA Jan 29, 2014 $149,537
Data Journalist Move, Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 08, 2016 $135,000
Data Journalist Move, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 08, 2016 $135,000
Junior Journalist (Correspondent) Reuters America LLC San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2014 $113,069
Junior Journalist (Correspondent) Thomson Reuters (Markets) LLC San Francisco, CA Aug 25, 2014 $113,069
Journalist (Reporter) The New York Times Company New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $108,110
Data Journalist-Bloomberg Graphics News Desk Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $108,000
Junior Journalist Reuters America LLC New York, NY Aug 28, 2015 $105,598
Junior Journalist Reuters America LLC New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $105,598
Journalist Thomson Reuters U.S. Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2012 $96,606
Intermediate Journalist The New York Times Company New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $85,000
Online Journalist Buzzmedia, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2012 $55,000
Journalist Kpopstars Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $54,000
Journalist Kpopstars Inc. New York, NY Sep 15, 2014 $54,000
Multimedia Journalist New Media News LLC D/B/A Dnainfo New York, NY Apr 11, 2014 $53,000
Multimedia Journalist New Media News LLC D/B/A Dnainfo New York, NY Aug 01, 2014 $53,000
Journalist Esquared Communications Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $52,175
Journalist-Reporter Bulmedia Group Inc. Bensenville, IL Oct 01, 2013 $52,175
Data Journalist Daily News, L.P. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $52,000
Journalist and Editor STW Productions Inc. New York, NY Dec 11, 2014 $43,827
Data Journalist Hanley Wood Washington, DC Aug 17, 2016 $43,202
Multimedia Journalist Univision Television Group, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jan 08, 2016 $43,000
Writer/Journalist Takuyo Corporation Torrance, CA Oct 01, 2012 $42,784
Journalist/Writer Los Angeles News Publishing Corp. Los Angeles, CA Apr 28, 2011 $42,723
Multimedia Journalist Scripps NP Operating, LLC Naples, FL Aug 22, 2016 $42,016
Multimedia Journalist Scripps NP Operating, LLC Naples, FL Aug 30, 2016 $42,016

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Top Skills for A Journalist

  1. News Stories
  2. Web Content
  3. Daily Newspaper
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Covered investigative and community news stories and contributed photographs for publication in the weekly print and online publications.
  • Experience writing articles and features, web content, newspaper specialty publications, column, newsletters and short stories.
  • Researched and wrote articles about domestic politics for daily newspapers
  • Reported stories for television broadcast and online publication.
  • Advised staff on script writing and video productions on public affairs issues.

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Top 10 Best States for Journalists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. West Virginia
  3. New York
  4. Oregon
  5. North Carolina
  6. Kentucky
  7. Alaska
  8. Louisiana
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Alabama
  • (30 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (125 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)

Journalist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 8,964 Journalist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Journalist Resume

View Resume Examples

Journalist Demographics

Gender

Female

47.4%

Male

39.0%

Unknown

13.6%
Ethnicity

White

57.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

10.5%

Unknown

4.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.0%

French

14.7%

Chinese

8.1%

Mandarin

6.9%

German

5.3%

Russian

4.6%

Arabic

4.6%

Italian

4.1%

Portuguese

3.4%

Cantonese

2.1%

Japanese

1.5%

Korean

1.3%

Serbian

1.2%

Hebrew

1.0%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Turkish

0.7%

Croatian

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Polish

0.7%

Dutch

0.6%
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Journalist Education

Schools

New York University

11.0%

Arizona State University

6.5%

Columbia University

5.7%

Northwestern University

5.4%

University of Texas at Austin

5.3%

Syracuse University

5.2%

Temple University

5.0%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.9%

Michigan State University

4.8%

University of Southern California

4.8%

University of Florida

4.7%

American University

4.7%

Pennsylvania State University

4.4%

George Washington University

4.3%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.1%

Florida State University

4.0%

Georgetown University

4.0%

Boston University

3.9%

Ohio University -

3.8%

University of Phoenix

3.6%
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Majors

Journalism

25.1%

Communication

20.0%

English

10.2%

Business

5.9%

Political Science

4.1%

Public Relations

3.9%

Writing

3.9%

Marketing

3.4%

Agricultural Public Services

3.3%

Photography

3.0%

Psychology

2.1%

Law

2.0%

History

2.0%

Journalism And Mass Communications

1.9%

Education

1.8%

Fine Arts

1.7%

Graphic Design

1.7%

International Relations

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Sociology

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.6%

Masters

21.5%

Other

16.5%

Associate

3.5%

Certificate

3.1%

Doctorate

2.7%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.1%
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Journalist Videos

Day in the Life: Photojournalist

Day in the Life: Photojournalist / Sneak Peek

Career Advice on becoming a Journalist by Hattie C (Highlights)

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