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Become A Journalist

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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

  • $49,000

    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
Communications Consultant Retail Sales Consultant Retail Sales Manager
Advertising Director
6 Yearsyrs
Translator Project Coordinator Development Coordinator
Assistant Director Of Development
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Marketing Director Executive Vice President
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Editor Project Manager General Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Editor Communications Director Marketing Director
Chief Marketing Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Writer Writer And Editor
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Copy Editor Managing Editor
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Producer Creative Director Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Social Media Manager Digital Strategist
Digital Communications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Managing Editor Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Writer Managing Editor Communications Director
Director Of Public Affairs
7 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Online Marketing Manager Interactive Marketing Manager
Ecommerce Marketing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Translator Office Manager Marketing Coordinator
Events Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Communications Manager Marketing Director
Executive Director, Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Development Director Grant Writer
Grant Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Photographer Specialist Merchandiser
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Freelance Copywriter
Senior Copywriter
6 Yearsyrs
Photographer Art Director Creative Director
Senior Creative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Freelance Journalist Writer And Editor Social Media Manager
Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Journalist?

Journalist Demographics

Gender

Female

51.6%

Male

44.0%

Unknown

4.4%
Ethnicity

White

57.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Asian

10.7%

Black or African American

10.5%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.4%

French

14.8%

Chinese

8.4%

Mandarin

7.5%

German

5.5%

Arabic

5.0%

Russian

4.5%

Italian

3.4%

Portuguese

3.4%

Cantonese

2.0%

Japanese

1.8%

Korean

1.2%

Serbian

0.9%

Hebrew

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Croatian

0.8%

Greek

0.8%

Turkish

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Romanian

0.5%
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Journalist Education

Schools

New York University

7.4%

Syracuse University

6.7%

University of Florida

6.3%

University of Texas at Austin

6.0%

Arizona State University

5.6%

Temple University

5.6%

Northwestern University

5.3%

University of Iowa

5.1%

University of Missouri - Columbia

5.1%

Michigan State University

4.9%

Columbia University

4.6%

Ohio University -

4.4%

University of Southern California

4.4%

American University

4.4%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.2%

Boston University

4.2%

Florida International University

3.9%

George Washington University

3.9%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.9%
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Majors

Journalism

25.1%

Communication

20.3%

English

10.6%

Business

5.5%

Writing

4.3%

Political Science

3.9%

Marketing

3.8%

Public Relations

3.6%

Agricultural Public Services

3.0%

Photography

2.8%

History

2.1%

Journalism And Mass Communications

2.1%

Law

2.1%

Education

1.9%

Psychology

1.8%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Graphic Design

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

Area Studies

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.7%

Masters

20.6%

Other

17.0%

Associate

3.6%

Doctorate

3.3%

Certificate

2.9%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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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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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Journalist

Average Yearly Salary
$49,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$31,000
Min 10%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Redfin
Highest Paying City
Philadelphia, PA
Highest Paying State
Delaware
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 $49,381 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $31,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $78,000.

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Top Skills for A Journalist

  1. News Stories
  2. Web Application
  3. Student Newspaper
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted in-person interviews to gather relevant information for news stories.
  • Coordinated ongoing website projects with in-house web application developers.
  • Contributed to multiple departments, but most significantly produced movie reviews for the culture section of the Student Newspaper.
  • Solicited biographical information, compiled data, edited and created business profiles for 25 regional business women featured in the directory.
  • Covered investigative and community news stories and contributed photographs for publication in the weekly print and online publications.

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Top 10 Best States for Journalists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New York
  3. Louisiana
  4. Arizona
  5. Alaska
  6. Florida
  7. Rhode Island
  8. New Jersey
  9. Utah
  10. Massachusetts
  • (30 jobs)
  • (125 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)

Top Journalist Employers

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Jobs From Top Journalist Employers

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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