Magazine Journalist: Salary and Career Facts

Learn about the primary responsibilities of a magazine journalist. Find information about degree programs and potential earnings, as well as how to find work at a magazine. Schools offering Digital Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Magazine Journalist?

A magazine journalist writes articles about current events or other relevant topics for readers of a particular magazine. They may need to conduct research or interview experts or contact in a given field to develop their content. Magazine journalists must establish credibility by using reliable sources and accurate facts and information. Once they have written a piece, they usually submit it to an editor to be reviewed for publication. They may be required to make changes that an editor suggests or update stories as new information becomes available.

What Are the Job Duties of a Magazine Journalist?

If you find work as a magazine journalist, your main responsibility is to create the written content found in weekly or monthly magazine publications. You either pitch article ideas to or take assignments from magazine editors. Once assigned to a story, you then go out and gather information for the article. This might include collecting background research and interviewing sources. Once you have the information you need, you compile it into an article and turn it in before a given deadline.

As a magazine reporter, you may find a salaried position on the staff of a single publication. You might also work freelance and contract out stories for several magazines. You might choose to specialize in writing a particular type of magazine article, such as fashion articles, news articles, sports articles, political articles or entertainment articles.

What Education Will I Need?

If you are interested in becoming a magazine journalist, you might want to consider completing a bachelor's degree program in journalism, communications, writing or English. Many magazines require that their staff writers have at least a bachelor's degree. You might also consider completing a minor in the field in which you would like to write. For example, if you are interested in become a writer for political magazines, you might consider studying political science. While master's degrees in journalism are not generally required in the field, they can give you a competitive edge in the job market.

While enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in journalism, you learn how to gather news, conduct interviews, outline news articles and format stories. Some 4-year degree programs allow you to concentrate solely on magazine writing. While enrolled in those programs, you also learn how to adjust your writing style to match the style of a particular magazine or publication.

How Will I Find Work at a Magazine?

You might become a magazine journalist in one of several ways. You might start out as an unpaid intern at a magazine before moving up to the position of editorial assistant or assistant editor. From there, you can gain a promotion to a staff-writing job.

If you are interested in working on a freelance basis, you will often find work by pitching story ideas to editors. You need to have a body of work to prove your competence as a writer and demonstrate your familiarity with a particular subject matter.

What Salary Will I Earn?

All writers and authors held more than 43,000 jobs in the country in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). About 5,480 of these individuals worked for newspaper, periodical, book and directory publisher services. All writers and authors made a median annual salary of about $60,250.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several available alternative careers that require a bachelor's degree, some of which are editors, technical writers and reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts. Editors must proofread written work prior to publication and give the final approval for each piece. Technical writers specialize in producing technical and complex written content. You may find their work in things like instruction manuals. Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts provide the public with current information concerning local, national and global news and events. They may work for newspapers, television, radio and more.

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