Journalist Job Description

The core purpose of a journalist is to research, document, write, and present the news in an honest, ethical, and unbiased way.   Although the method for reporting the news may be changing, the need for talented, qualified and educated journalists isn’t.  A journalist job description still calls for hard work, ethics, quality writing, and, at its heart, the desire to tell the truth.  As a journalist, you may find yourself:

  • interviewing people in a wide range of circumstances
  • writing copy for publication on a tight deadline
  • building contacts and sources for use in future stories
  • fact-checking the information given to you by a source
  • creating blog publications

Whether you are working for a print, on-air, or online publication, the essential job duties remain constant. Experience and education in one area of journalism can easily transfer into other occupations and related fields, such as photojournalism, broadcast journalism, sports journalism, or social media. Discover what it means to be a top journalist by exploring your educational opportunities. Start by requesting information from the journalism schools listed in this resource.

In almost every circumstance, a journalist will need to:

  • Work long hours
  • Carry an unpredictable schedule
  • Be able to ask difficult questions, often in an emotionally charged situation
  • Follow current events, always looking for a story opportunity
  • Be able to develop a source
  • Pitch story ideas to editors and producers
  • Attend news conferences
  • Stay up to date with privacy, contempt and defamation laws

Depending on the line of work you are in, travel within the United States and abroad may be necessary.

Online Journalist Job Description

The who, what, where, when, and how of any journalist job descriptionIn 2008, for the first time, more Americans reported getting their news online rather than from newspapers. Newsrooms around the world have branched out into online outlets for their distribution. Smartphones and Tablets have given us unprecedented access to the news, whenever and however we want it. While you may see various writers for the Internet posting their opinions on the news, real Internet journalists base their news writing and reporting in the fundamentals of journalism. That is, education and training in the core elements of journalism still matter. Real reporting still matters.

In online journalism, the news can be reported in real time, as it happens. There are also elements unique to the Internet such as animation and graphics that can be added to the news story to make it more interactive. To take full advantage, the online journalist should be familiar with web production and programs, like HTML and CSS. Benefit from the expanding world of online news by pursuing a degree in journalism. Formal education on the fundamentals of journalism is preferred by the major news organizations, whether in print, on air, or online.

What skills do I need?

  • Able to work within a tight deadline
  • Curious about the world around you
  • General understanding of current events
  • Ability to delve deeper
  • Good communication skills, both written and oral
  • Strong editing and proofreading skills
  • Eye for detail
  • Excellent written English skills
  • Must be able to work well alone or in a team
  • Ability to multitask
  • Strong familiarity with photography, video and audio content gathering and editing skills

Who are the major journalism employers?

  • Newspapers
  • Websites
  • Radio stations
  • Television companies
  • Periodicals publishers

What is the salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, In May 2008, reporters and correspondents had average yearly wages of $44,030. The average starting salary for journalism majors in July 2009 was $35,328.

What are the Top Cities for Journalists?

The large metropolitan centers offer great opportunities for journalists, although due to the internet, journalists can work from any location. Top metro areas include:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • London
  • Atlanta
  • Washington, DC
  • Los Angeles

Smaller cities and communities also offer employment opportunities at local papers, radios stations, or broadcasting stations. Online job opportunities can be found anywhere, no matter your physical location.

Journalists will cover many topics, from current political events to popular culture to sports, the economy, or the environment. Whatever your interests, there is demand for those with expertise in the fundamentals of journalism.

Find A School

Schools Offering Communication & Journalism Courses

Ashford University LogoAshford University

  • BA Journalism & Mass Communications (Online)
  • Bachelors in Communication Studies
  • BA Social Science - Communications

Kaplan UniversityKaplan University

  • BS in Communication

Drexel UniversityDrexel University

  • Bachelor of Science in Communication
  • Bachelor of Science in Communications and Applied Technology
  • And More . . .

Colorado State University-Global CampusColorado State University-Global Campus

  • BS - Communication (Online)
  • And More . . .
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