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The primary role of a journalist is gathering information, writing news pieces, and presenting the news. Aside from investigating and reporting on current events, the journalist works on articles and features that update and shape public opinion. As a journalist, you will be expected to meet all deadlines, regular and recurring. You'll evaluate and edit work for editorial approval. You must adhere to the ethical code of the profession and stay updated on the latest news developments. This is by attending events, studying different papers, opinion pieces, and social media.

An ideal candidate must hold a bachelor's degree in journalism, English, communications, or a related field. You must have a minimum of two years of relevant experience. You must possess observation, communication, time management, and networking skills and be familiar with the APA style. Annually, journalists can earn as high as $99,000 with an average of $53,133. However, their salary can be as low as $29,000.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a journalist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $26.81 an hour? That's $55,774 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -10% and produce -5,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Journalist Do

There are certain skills that many journalists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, computer skills and interpersonal skills.

Learn more about what a Journalist does

How To Become a Journalist

If you're interested in becoming a journalist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 74.5% of journalists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.1% of journalists have master's degrees. Even though most journalists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a journalist. When we researched the most common majors for a journalist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on journalist resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a journalist. In fact, many journalist jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many journalists also have previous career experience in roles such as reporter or editor.

Journalist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Journalist

Journalists in America make an average salary of $55,774 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $87,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Journalist Salary
$55,774 Yearly
$26.81 hourly
$35,000
10 %
$55,000
Median
$87,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Journalist Education

Journalist Majors

12.0 %

Journalist Degrees

Bachelors

74.5 %

Masters

11.1 %

Associate

7.5 %

Top Colleges for Journalists

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

7. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

9. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

Top Skills For a Journalist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 25.2% of journalists listed news stories on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.

  • News Stories, 25.2%
  • Multimedia, 10.1%
  • Communication, 7.5%
  • Local Businesses, 6.6%
  • Video Production, 4.6%
  • Other Skills, 46.0%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Journalist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Journalist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Journalist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Journalist Demographics

Journalist Gender Distribution

Female
Female
53%
Male
Male
47%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among journalists, 53.4% of them are women, while 46.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among journalists is White, which makes up 70.8% of all journalists.

  • The most common foreign language among journalists is Spanish at 37.0%.

Online Courses For Journalist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Modern PR How To Get Press Coverage For Your Business
udemy
4.5
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A proven public relations / PR system to get press coverage for your company or product, from a journalist's perspective...

Successful Events: Event Planning, Marketing & Management
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Create a single successful event or event-series with effective event promotion, planning, management and monetization...

Press Coverage, Publicity & Public Relations For Branding
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Public relations to reach 100,000+ potential clients with strategies to get publicity & press coverage for branding ASAP...

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Best States For a Journalist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a journalist. The best states for people in this position are Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina, and Missouri. Journalists make the most in Kentucky with an average salary of $74,748. Whereas in Ohio and South Carolina, they would average $72,625 and $71,964, respectively. While journalists would only make an average of $69,407 in Missouri, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Journalist Jobs:
661
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
2.57 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Missouri

Total Journalist Jobs:
120
Highest 10% Earn:
$110,000
Location Quotient:
1.02 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maryland

Total Journalist Jobs:
250
Highest 10% Earn:
$102,000
Location Quotient:
1.96 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Journalists

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Top Journalist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ journalists and discovered their number of journalist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Reuters Tv was the best, especially with an average salary of $55,774. *N/A follows up with an average salary of $63,427, and then comes El Dia with an average of $62,062. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a journalist. The employers include Tribune Publishing, The E.W. Scripps Company, and Abuse Refuge org

Most Common Employers For Journalist

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Bloomberg$77,707$37.364
2The Associated Press$68,582$32.977
3Thomson Reuters$66,377$31.916
4The New York Times Company$65,341$31.417
5Gannett$65,129$31.316
6News$64,915$31.214
7The Boston Globe$63,986$30.765
8Avangard Innovative$63,653$30.605
9*n/a*$63,427$30.4912
10Primera$62,962$30.277

Journalist Videos

Becoming a Journalist FAQs

Do journalists get paid well?

No, journalists do not get paid well. While some journalists get paid well, the average salary for a journalist is $52,000 a year mid-career journalist. Someone just starting typically earns closer to $32,000 a year. Even less if you're beginning as a freelance journalist. However, the top 10% of journalists make around $86,000 a year. Factors such as years of experience, the company you work for, and location impact how much a journalist gets paid.

How do I start a career in journalism?

To start a career in journalism, there are two main paths that you can take. The traditional path is to earn a four-year bachelor's degree, gain experience through internships, and land an entry-level position.

Is it hard to become a journalist?

Yes, it is hard to become a journalist. It's a fiercely competitive market to break into. However, the educational requirements needed to be a journalist are not too difficult to achieve.

Is journalism a good career?

Yes, journalism is a good career. If writing, reporting, or telling a great story is your thing, then working in journalism might be the perfect career for you. Journalism is one of the few careers that provide the opportunity to express your power of thought, confidence, and creative freedom.

What qualifications do you need to be a journalist?

The qualifications needed to be a journalist include educational training, advanced writing skills, experience, and people skills.

Although a bachelor's degree is not an industry requirement for journalists, it is necessary for this highly competitive profession if you want to work for a major media or news outlet. It's important to major in either journalism or communications and minor in a specialized subject, such as political science or economics.

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