Being a journalist is something that many people dream of, from a very early age. Writing insightful, heartfelt, or important media stories is a wonderful career. However, the truth is that journalism is NOT an easy career path to follow.
If you want to be a journalist, here’s what you need to do. You will need a degree in journalism or a related field. For those who want to succeed in the mainstream media (The New York Times, TIME magazine, CNN, etc.), it’s a good idea to obtain your degree from a respected school. (Find the best schools here…) It’s also a good idea to minor (or double major) in another unrelated field, as that will increase your opportunities for journalism work.
A good journalist can find inspiration everywhere. You can find inspiration in the people you meet, the stories you read, the things you do, and more. Find that inspiration to write and communicate with others, and that will be a good step toward becoming a journalist.
When it comes to finding jobs in journalism, location is DEFINITELY a very important factor. Most of the big journalism jobs are to be found in:
- Washington D.C.
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
If you want to work outside of the U.S, both London and Hong Kong are major centers for media and news.
For those who are serious about working in media, it’s a good idea to move to these cities while you are still studying. That way you can start interning at major media/news companies, and work your way up the ladder from within. It’s much easier than trying to get hired as an out-of-towner with a journalism degree, but only limited experience.
There are basically two types of journalism jobs: print and broadcast.
Print journalism means newspapers, magazines, websites, and wire services. There are journalism jobs for both physical and digital publications, and the type of journalism that you will do for these publications will be wildly different from the journalism you’ll do for broadcast media.
Broadcast media includes TV and radio hosts/personalities, as well as the writers, editors, and producers that produce the content that is reported via the media. You may also write stories to be published in online videos, as well as infographics and animated videos.
There are a few great sites to check out for jobs in the field of journalism, such as:
For those who want to go the freelance route, there are a few other good sites to check out:
All of these sites have links to journalism jobs, though many of them are on a freelance basis.
If you are studying journalism in university, try out the news tests administered by the Dow Jones or the Associated Press. These tests may get you an internship or even a job at these big media outlets, and you may even find that reporter/journalist job you’ve always dreamed of.
Internships are the best way to start your career in journalism. If you can land an internship at a prestigious news/media company, you have a much better chance of working your way up the ladder and eventually joining the company as a full time journalist. It is important to remember though that many journalists go through at least two internships before they get a job, if they get one at all. So any opportunity you have to intern at a newspaper should be jumped on.
It might not be the easiest career path to follow, but if you have the passion, drive and talent, you will eventually get that job you want.