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Career As a Journalist: Job Duties and Employment Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a journalist. Get a quick view of the education requirements as well as details about job duties and employment outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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The journalism field is incredibly competitive. To enter the field, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education level required and relevant experience is often necessary. There are many options for those wishing to enter journalism, whether they want to pursue photojournalism, reporting or editing.

Essential Information

Journalists gather, interpret and disseminate news for a wide audience. They are keen observers and develop investigative skills in addition to writing accurately and concisely. Careers in journalism include jobs as reporters, editors, new media journalists and photojournalists. Many of these jobs require a bachelor's degree as well as relevant job experience. This career could appeal to an individual with interests in news, current events and publishing.

Reporters Editors/Copy Editors New Media Journalists Photojournalists
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -9% for all reporters and correspondents* -5% for all editors* -9% for all reporters and correspondents* 3% for all photographers*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $46,560 for all reporters and correspondents* $64,910 for all editors* $46,560 for all reporters and correspondents* $40,280 for all photographers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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Career Options

Reporters

These journalists gather news and prepare articles and reports for newspapers, radio and television stations, wire services and magazines. They identify and track sources of information, and they conduct interviews by phone, in person or by e-mail. Reporters, especially correspondents on location, sometimes work in dangerous conditions to cover breaking stories. They often work under hard deadline pressure.

Editors

Editors work with writers: reviewing, editing, and sometimes rewriting their work to meet the publisher's editorial standards. They review queries (story proposals) and assign stories to staff or freelance writers. Editors can also be involved in the production of their publications, designing page layouts and coordinating art and illustrations.

Copy Editors

Copy editors prepare content for publication by finding and fixing errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax. They also check for consistency and accuracy, and they correct formatting mistakes. Copy editors also write headlines. Many publications use both full-time and freelance copy editors.

New Media Journalists

New media journalists blur the line between print and broadcast journalism by using text, images, audio and video to create and publish their stories. They work for online newspapers, magazines and other publications. News media journalists also write content for wireless media and communications devices.

Photojournalists

Photojournalists are news photographers who tell their stories visually, using film footage or photographs. They work for newspapers, magazines, wire services, television stations and other media outlets. They cover newsworthy people and events, including sporting events, on local, national and international levels. Some work as independent freelancers, selling their photos or film to various publications over time.

Employment Outlook for Journalists

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for reporters and correspondents will decline by 9% from 2014-2024, while in the same time period, jobs for editors will decrease by 5% and jobs for photographers will increase by 3%. This is chiefly due to consolidation among large publishing and broadcasting media outlets, coupled with a decrease in the advertising revenue that supports those outlets.

Competition for journalism jobs is intense, especially in traditional media outlets such as large metropolitan newspapers, national magazines, TV stations and broadcasting networks. The best bet to enter this field is by working in smaller markets, starting as an intern or apprentice. Other hopeful future journalists may explore new media jobs, producing content for the Web or wireless communication devices. Working as a freelance newspaper reporter or article writer is another way to break in.

Journalists, editors, and photographers all work within the journalism industry either in print or digital journalism. Gathering news, writing stories, formatting and editing, or gathering and pursuing photographs are all part of working in the field. Gaining experience in the journalism industry is important in order to have a competitive edge in finding employment, especially since the BLS expects job opportunities to decline for multiple positions through 2024.

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