Journalism Professions Video: Educational Requirements for Becoming a Journalist

Journalism Professions Video: Educational Requirements for Becoming a Journalist Transcript

Professionals in the journalist field should be knowledgeable in general communication tactics, writing and editing. Journalists may choose to specialize in an area, such as photojournalism or broadcast journalism. A four-year degree is typically required to become a professional journalist. On-the-job training or an internship may also be needed to secure experience in the field.


Journalists can come in many forms such as reporters, photographers, artists, or editors. They generally work with media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio or the Web. Their primary role is to gather newsworthy information and make it available to the public. This can be done by writing, photographing or broadcasting.

Job Duties and Skills

Journalists need strong research, writing, and communication skills. They typically work under tight deadlines and must have a creative way of disseminating the news they gather. Computer skills, whether in word processing or desktop publishing and graphics are also a must. Being able to gather and decipher data and information is another requirement.

Additional skills are often dependent upon job duties. Photojournalists, for example, will shoot photographs in a variety of settings and should be knowledgeable of computer editing programs and resolution needed for print publications. Broadcast journalists and reporters will need to handle on-the-spot speaking with little preparation time. Journalists who work for print should have a handle on AP-style writing.

Training Required

It is preferred that journalists have a bachelor's degree in communications, mass communications, journalism or a related area before entering the field. Internships are often available in this field as well. Experience working for a college newspaper, radio station, television station or other news organization will also help aspiring journalists. Advanced degrees, such as a master's in mass communication are offered at a variety of four-year colleges and are beneficial to have in a competitive job market. Attending a college that has a communications or journalism program that has been accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is another plus.

Career Opportunities

There are a variety of positions and titles journalists can have, including broadcast journalist, reporter, editor, news anchor, or photojournalist. The majority of journalists work for print publications, such as newspapers and magazines. A close second are journalists who work in broadcast, whether for television or radio. Another set of journalists can be found on the Web either as bloggers or media professionals. Working hours can vary, depending on the type of journalist you are. Broadcast journalists can find themselves working long hours in the early morning or late into the evening. Reporters will also find that hours can vary depending on when a newsworthy event is happening and needs to be covered. Direct experience in the field will be advantageous when securing an entry-level position and can make moving up in the field a bit easier.


There are many opportunities for those interested in entering the field of journalism. It is a profession that requires creativity, attention to detail and the ability to work under tight deadlines. A four-year degree is typically required with field experience being just as beneficial.


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