Journalism Career Information and Job Duties

Learn about the education needed to become a journalist. Get a quick view of salary prospects, job duties and career information to find out if this is the career for you.

Journalists are involved with gathering information for public consumption in a variety of media. They may work on researching, reporting, and writing newsworthy topics, or work on the business side of journalism in positions like editors and publishers.

Essential Information

The field of journalism encompasses a variety of careers related to the dissemination of information. Journalists work as news reporters, writers, editors and publishers. Graduates of journalism programs might work for newspapers, websites, magazines, television stations, radio stations and other mass communication organizations.

Required Education A bachelor's degree in journalism
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) 9% decline* for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts
Median Annual Salary (May 2015) $36,360* for reporters and correspondents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Journalism Career Information

Journalists collect and disseminate information to the public. Popular careers in this field include newspaper reporter, copywriter, editor, news anchor, columnist or public relations agent. Most employers require a bachelor's degree in journalism. Some major newspapers and magazines prefer to hire journalists with several years of experience or a master's degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 9% decline in jobs for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts from 2014 through 2024 (www.bls.gov). This is due to the condensing of traditional media outlets, as well as declining ad revenue according to the BLS. However, newer formats like Internet sites and niche publications provide some additional employment opportunities. O'Net Online reported in 2012 that self-employment is common in journalism, with 13% of reporters and correspondents working as freelancers or stringers.

Job Duties

Specific job duties in journalism vary by job title. Reporters gather information on newsworthy events through observation in the field, research and interviews. Some broadcast journalists report live on air from the location of an event. General assignment reporters might cover city hall meetings, business openings, celebrity appearances or political rallies. Some reporters specialize in areas like health, sports, fashion, business or foreign affairs.

News analysts interpret the news from many sources and relay it to an audience through a television or radio broadcast. Correspondents report news from locations around the world. Some larger media outlets assign reporters to a specific beat like crime or politics. Reporters at smaller publications also might take on layout, administrative and editing duties.

Regardless of the specific job duties, all journalists must adhere to strict ethical policies and deadlines. Accuracy and timeliness are key aspects of news gathering and reporting. Increasingly, journalists must possess a working knowledge of computers and databases. People skills, tenacity and flexibility are other important traits of a journalist, according to the BLS.

Journalism positions usually require a bachelor's degree in journalism, and some outlets require several years experience or a master's degree. Jobs in the field are shrinking as revenues decline and consolidation continues in the industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools