If you want to become a journalist, a magazine editor, a publisher, or a writer, this section is for you.
Here you will find out more information about the most in-demand journalism occupations and what to expect on your professional journey.
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Job descriptions in the journalism field vary widely depending on the employer and the position.
Some occupations, such as journalist or reporter, require spending a lot of time outdoors, while others involve staying long hours in front of a computer writing and editing stories.
Talking to people is a job requirement for many journalism professions because this is how leads and stories are developed.
All professions in this field require a good command of the English language, good proofreading skills, attention to detail, professional ethics, and the willingness to spend a lot of time doing research.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, journalists, news analysts, and reporters held around 46,700 jobs in the United States in 2020, and about 35 percent of them worked for radio and broadcasting stations.
Publishers hired 34 percent of them and 11 percent worked in the field of other information services.
Some journalists, especially reporters, spend a lot of time in the field- where they conduct interviews and investigate stories.
They may work later hours to cover breaking news, and they may work at night or during weekends.
Editors held around 108,600 jobs in the United States in 2020.
The biggest employer for workers in this occupation was newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers- a field that hired 34 percent of all editors.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 10 percent of all editors were self-employed.
Self-employed editors are also responsible for finding work and adjusting to new job requirements and the specifics of each project.
Editors usually work in offices and some may work from home.
Editing jobs are usually available in major media and entertainment centers, such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, but new software and improved internet capabilities make it possible for editors to work from anywhere.
Editors may work long hours when they have to meet a publishing deadline.
Some journalism-related professions require only an associate’s degree.
Desktop publishers, for example, usually need an associate’s degree, and they may also receive on-the-job training.
An associate’s degree in graphic design or graphic communication from a community college or technical school can help you start a career in this occupation.
This category also includes writers and authors, a profession that consists of 68% self-employed workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 143,200 writers and authors in the United States in 2020.
Although most writers are self-employed, work opportunities may also exist in professional, scientific, and technical services, in the information industry, in the field of performing arts, or similar sectors.
Some writers and authors work part-time, and those who are self-employed usually set their hours, although most writers have a writing routine.
Freelance writers sometimes work on multiple projects simultaneously, and they need good time-management skills to make sure the deadlines are met.
Most journalism professions require at least a bachelor’s degree.
However, if you have good writing skills and you’re passionate about traveling or a different niche, you may find work and people who are willing to read your works without specific formal training.
Most journalists have at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications when they enter this profession.
Journalism programs usually include classes in journalistic ethics, research, and interview techniques.
Some may also include liberal arts subjects, such as history and economics, to make students capable of covering topics in multiple areas.
Multimedia design, coding, and programming classes may also be available, depending on the college.
Writing for your college or high school newspaper is a plus because employers usually prefer to hire candidates who have some proven experience in the field.
After getting a few years of experience writing for a small newspaper, journalists may advance to a position in a reputable publication or bigger station.
Writers and journalists may also advance to an editor position.
A bachelor’s degree in fields such as communication, journalism, or English is typically required for editors.
Magazines and newspapers may also offer internships to students.
An example of such an internship is the Magazine Internship Program offered by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
This ten-week-long internship is available to students at magazines in New York and Washington.
Besides formal education, there are some personal skills you should focus on developing if you want to start a career in journalism.
- Communication skills – In this line of work, it’s very important to be able to convey information that can be understood by people from different backgrounds.
- Interpersonal skills – Being able to develop contacts and conduct interviews is a requirement.
- Persistence – Sometimes the effort of investigating topics, gathering facts, and talking to people can be difficult, and this is why journalists need to be determined when pursuing a specific story.
- Stamina – Journalists may work long hours and they must be able to adapt to a quite exhausting schedule when needed.
- Technological skills are because journalists need to be able to use editing software or broadcasting devices, depending on the field of employment.
Being able to publish the articles on the website is also a requirement for most journalism jobs.
Many salaried writers and authors need a college degree in English, journalism, communications, or a related field.
Having some writing experience through blogging or working for a college or high school newspaper can look good on a new writer’s resume.
Certification is not usually a requirement in this field, but some credentials are helpful.
For example, grant writers can apply for a Certified Grand Writer credential offered by the American Grant Writers’ Association.
The association also offers online courses in grant writing for different types of projects, from nonprofit organizations to proposals.
Salaries for most occupations in the journalism field vary widely depending on a multitude of factors.
While entry-level employees make less than $40,000, experienced workers can earn significantly more than $100,000.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage reported for editors was $63,400 as of May 2020, with salaries ranging between less than $35,000 and more than $125,000 depending on experience, region, employer, and a variety of other factors.
One of the highest-paying fields for editors were religious, grantmaking, civic, and similar organizations, where the median annual wage reported by workers in this occupation was $71,520.
The median annual wage for news analysts, reporters, and journalists was $49,300 with wages ranging between less than $26,000 and more than $127,000.
The highest-paying field for journalists was the industry of other information services, where the reported median wage was $73,300.
As mentioned in the first section, most writers and authors are self-employed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary information about those who are employed.
The median annual wage reported by writers and authors was $67,120 as of May 2020, with salaries varying between less than $40,000 and more than $130,000.
Self-employed workers have to find new projects all the time and their earnings vary depending on their success and their marketing skills.
Earnings for self-employed writers can vary widely depending on the season and a variety of other factors, and they may face periods of unemployment, especially at the beginning of their careers.
Being able to promote your work as a writer, through social media or different platforms, is very important in our day and age.
As a beginner author, you can gain experience by writing for a local newspaper, an advertising agency.
Authors start earning more when they have a reputation, especially if their work was published by a prestigious publication.
Being published looks good on any author’s resume and makes finding new work easier.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of editors will grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, resulting in 11,200 new jobs each year.
Most of this growth is explained by the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fewer jobs will be available in traditional print newspapers and magazines but the online medium will grow which will lead to overall employment growth for the editor profession.
The demand for news analysts, reporters, and journalists will also grow by a rate of 6 percent with 6,400 new jobs projected each year.
However, newspaper readership is projected to continue to decline over the decade and so will the print advertising revenue.
Many news organizations will move online, but even though digital advertising may offset in part the downsizing, the return from digital advertising is typically less than print advertising revenue.
The demand for writers and authors will grow 9 percent by 2030 with 15,400 new openings projected each year.
As the printed media industry becomes smaller, most writers and authors focus their attention on online platforms and media.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are journalism careers remunerated well?
Salaries in the journalism world are directly influenced by the region, the employer, and reputation.
Entry-level workers typically make less than $40,000 per year, but experienced journalists and writers can make more than $130,000.
This field has a significant number of self-employed workers- whose earnings vary depending on their experience level, resume/portfolio, and marketing skills.
Do I need a degree for a career in journalism?
Most journalists have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field- a credential that can be obtained after four years of post-secondary education.
Salaried writers also need a degree – usually in English or journalism.
Having experience writing for your college or high school newspaper can help you start a career in this industry.
Do journalism occupations have good prospects?
Most journalism professions will grow in the future, although employment prospects are affected by the decline of printed newspapers and magazines.
The demand for editors will grow 5 percent while writers will see a 9 percent job growth by 2030, according to BLS.
Being familiar with editing software and website publishing may help you find a job working for a digital magazine or newspaper.
What does a journalist do?
The answer to this question depends on the place of employment and the occupation.
News analysts, reporters, and journalists are usually responsible for researching topics, interviewing people, investigating, and writing stories.
Some occupations require a lot of fieldwork, while other work mostly in an office or newsroom.