Introduction to journalism

Overview

With over 1600 newspapers and more than 9000 magazines in the UK, journalism is a huge industry.

The hours are unsociable as stories are covered 24 hours a day sometimes through night shifts, particularly for a sub-editor meeting a publication deadline.

As journalism becomes increasingly web-based, knowledge of web publishing is a useful skill for all journalists, along with a specialist knowledge that will make their work appeal to consumers and potential employers alike.

Typical roles

Reporters

Reporters typically conduct interviews, attend press conferences, research background information and submit stories to deadlines.

Sub-editor

A sub-editor's responsibility is to check articles for spelling errors, grammar and style, liaise with photographers and designers, or use publishing and design software. 

Newspaper journalist

Newspaper journalists may be asked to cover stories in the news, politics, sport, entertainment, local events, or may have the focus of their stories constrained by geography or topic.

Typical salaries

Last year the average salary for all journalists was £24,500. Salaries for subeditors can range from £17,000 to £60,000 depending on the size of publication, responsibility and experience. Editors of regional daily papers earned £50000-£85,000 and editors of nationals can earn more.

Desirable skills

  • A concise writing style which can be adapted to fit different publications
  • The ability to meet deadlines
  • Networking skills, as journalists need to build up and maintain relations with contacts
  • A driving license, as you may be asked to travel anywhere to cover a story
  • IT literacy e.g. publishing software Quark Xpress
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