What Is a News Journalist?

Explore a career as a news journalist. Check out education and training requirements, job duties, salary and the employment outlook to see if this career is a good fit for you. Schools offering Digital Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a News Journalist Do?

News journalists report on events and issues happening locally, nationally and internationally for various media outlets that keep the public informed. They need to have a good knowledge of current affairs to accurately transmit the information to their audience. News journalists need to have strong communication and research skills and may be required to seek out and interview subjects in order to write their stories. These professionals may work for written publications, such as newspapers or online platforms, or they may report news on the television or the radio. Some news journalists may work for just one media institution, while others may contribute to many different publications on a freelance basis.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications, English
Key Skills Written and verbal communications, computer skills, video and photography skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) -8% for all reporters and correspondents*
Median Salary (2015) $36,360 for all reporters and correspondents*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Duties of a News Journalist?

Professional news journalists strive to be gatekeepers of the first amendment and work to ensure that unbiased information flows to the American people, providing them with knowledge to make decisions within their communities.

As a news journalist, also known as a reporter, you are responsible for collecting all the information about an event and organizing it into a story or video report. You might interview witnesses, take photographs and conduct research. Some reporters may focus on a specific type of news, such as sports. You could write for newspapers, magazines or television programs.

Hectic, busy work environments, due to demanding deadlines and constant changes, are common in news journalism. You might travel extensively to cover world happenings, including wars and other traumatic events. Hours can be long and stressful.

How Do I Prepare for a Career as a News Journalist?

Employers generally prefer reporters to have a bachelor's degree in mass communications or journalism; however, if you're strongly interested in writing about a specific field like business, a degree in that area may be helpful. Journalism degree programs are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

It's helpful to work at your high school or college newspaper in order to build your portfolio. While pursuing a degree, you may also gain practical experience through internships in reporting or editing. Working at a small newspaper as a freelance journalist is another option. Developing your abilities in desktop publishing, multimedia and photography may also be beneficial.

What Is My Career Outlook?

News journalism is a highly competitive field, with jobs in larger markets particularly difficult to obtain. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of reporters and correspondents was expected to decline between 2014 and 2024 at a rate of 8%. The BLS reported that those with technical abilities or specific areas of expertise are expected to have an advantage. As of May 2015, the average salary for journalists working for newspapers, periodicals and other print media was $46,560. Journalists reporting for television and radio broadcasts earned average annual incomes of $51,430.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you enjoy the writing aspect of being a news journalist, there are several other career options that may also be suitable. You may choose to become a copywriter, providing original content for clients in the form of product descriptions, advertisements or company communications. You may be required to have some background knowledge on the topic you are writing about and have a bachelor's degree in communications or another writing-related degree. One career path that is available to news journalists who have gained some experience in their field is to become a broadcast news analyst. Rather than just reporting on issues, these professionals offer analysis and opinion on news and current affairs. Broadcast news analyst positions generally only ask you to have attained a bachelor's degree, but will require several years' worth of work and experience in journalism in order.

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