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If you are going to consider a new career or job in journalism the first thing to do is get a good understanding of what the sector involves.
Journalism is the general term given to the occupation of researching, reporting, writing, editing and broadcasting news stories, articles and features for different types of media:
print (newspapers, magazines and journals); broadcast (television and radio); and online.
Some journalists will work exclusively with one of these formats, although as the lines separating the types of media are blurring more and more following the boom in Internet and mobile technology, many journalists will be required to work across a number of platforms.
Events unfold around us all the time and journalists are responsible for collecting all facts and information surrounding these events in order that it can be reported to the wider public.
Journalism evolved and continues to evolve in a number of ways since the advent of the Internet: interviews can now be conducted online rather than in person or over the phone.
Research can be performed and cross-checked much more easily; and, currently, everyone has a platform available to them on which they can publicise written work. This has made it easier for journalists to reach readers and vice-versa, although journalists now have to work harder in order not to be eclipsed by increasing competition.
Also important to note is that an increasing number of journalists work on a freelance basis, writing one-off stories for a number of different newspapers and broadcasters.
This is due in part to the fact that full-time, in-house journalist roles is becoming fewer and further between. Journalists also have the potential to earn more money working freelance. All of this means that constantly looking for work, networking and forging relationships wherever possible are fundamental aspects of the job.
News outlets and broadcasters exist all over the country – from very small, regional newspapers, college and university magazines and hospital radio stations to national titles with countrywide readership.
Not all journalism jobs require writing articles or features; broadcast journalism is predominantly through the mediums of television and radio. Either way, journalism jobs need good communication skills.
Journalism can also be a fulfilling career for people with interests that they enjoy reading and writing about but cannot necessarily make a living through.
For example, not everyone can be a professional sportsperson, but a mixture of writing or reporting skills and a passion for a sport can be the winning combination of attributes for an aspiring sports journalist. This can be applied to just about any specialist subject or area of interest.
For more in-depth information on the the different job paths within Journalism, please follow the below links:
Journalism is an area where experience can overshadow qualifications. This is not to say that gaining a journalism qualification is pointless, as many newspapers and publications will ask journalists to have a NCTJ journalism qualification or at least a relevant degree.
However, most journalists succeed from having built up a portfolio and gained enough work experience within the industry.
Small papers and broadcasters are great places for people interested in the industry to gain practical experience and offer entrants a platform on which to sharpen their writing and reporting skills and, ultimately, build upon a portfolio of published work.
People wishing to get into journalism can do a number of things from an early stage to strengthen their applications, such as blogging regularly, keeping a close eye on the news and current affairs and contributing stories to small publications or online platforms.