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Journalist

Researches, writes, edits and presents news stories, features and articles for use on television and radio or within magazines, journals and newspapers.

Job description

Journalism refers to mass-communication activities involving the collection and publication of news-related material for general and special segments of society. Journalists find and present information through media such as pamphlets, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, radio, film, television and books.

The term journalist includes visual journalists such as photographers, but it is also used to refer to editors, subeditors and feature writers. It is commonly used to refer to reporters whose main purpose is to report news accurately, objectively and without bias, either for print or broadcast, including the internet. Another type of journalist is a columnist who writes pieces that appear regularly in newspapers or magazines.

Over the years, different types of journalism have developed that have given different dimensions to the field of mass media. These include: fashion journalism, celebrity journalism, investigative journalism, sports journalism, environmental journalism, business/finance journalism.

Entry-level jobs can include magazine assistant editor or trainee, newspaper general assignment reporter or monitoring the crime desk for a larger paper. In the case of TV and radio journalism, the starting point is normally a production assistant or writing news copy. Aspiring journalists can always try to get freelance or contract work. Then there is the opportunity to showcase talents online with a blog or online column, although this would produce no revenue at first.

Work activities

  • Collecting and recording news or newsworthy material
  • Writing articles from notes taken, editing and presenting material in a clear, engaging style, often to tight deadlines
  • Attending press launches, courts and other events
  • Interviewing people by phone or in person
  • Responding to tip-offs, calls and news releases.

Entry requirements

The ideal candidate will have some training in journalism, whether derived from a course or on the job. For journalism on radio or television, a level of comfort with the medium is required.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Economics
  • Politics.

Skills and qualities

  • Excellent writing skills
  • The ability to meet deadlines
  • Strong research skills
  • The ability to work independently and creatively
  • Strong news judgment
  • Well-developed analytical skills
  • Organisation and prioritisation skills
  • Quick response to breaking news
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Accuracy and attention to detail for fact checking.