How to Become a Journalist?
The profession of journalist is still popular. Whether in newspapers, on television, on the radio or the Internet, journalists are constantly dealing with new relevant issues and interesting people. But how to become a journalist? What are the options?
Before asking the "How to become a journalist?" question, we will come to the job profile of journalism first. As a journalist, you can work in many areas. You can work for a newspaper or magazine, on television, at the radio station, in various agencies, media companies, or on the Internet platforms. Since journalists often deal with new and relevant topics, their work is varied. They thoroughly research a lot of information on an issue and prepare it for the audience. What information is important and reliable or not — journalists have to decide that quickly. That means you have to ensure the comprehension of the material you prepare. Journalists generally elaborate or process information and opinions and entertain others through media such as words, images, sound, or a combination of these. The aim is to publish facts with the purpose to inform the society, to entertain them, and to make them think.
Not only letters and punctuation marks, but also audio files, podcasts, videos, pictures, colors, and shapes can be the working medium in journalism. Any contribution above has to appeal to the chosen target group. For example, if you want to write about a festival, a scientific style of speech is not appropriate.
There are several ways to work as a journalist. On the one hand, as a freelancer, you can work for several clients at the same time or work as an employed journalist. Many journalists work by freelancing or on a fee basis. That has the advantage — you can make your everyday life free. The disadvantage is that you always have to have enough orders to make a living. If this is not the case, you do not have enough money at the end of the month.
You should bring that with you
If you are going to become a journalist, look through the requirements first. As a journalist, you should have well-developed communication skills, as well as a sense of potential issues that could be of interest to a target audience. Besides, one should be able to work organisationally and analytically to gather the necessary information and opinions. In addition to this work, one must also be able to apply creativity and make the materials original and relevant.
You should be resilient because the job as a journalist can be stressful sometimes and go along with a high workload. For example, just before the deadlines or when several projects must be finished at the same time. Also, the working hours of a journalist are usually irregular — frequently, you cannot adjust that yourself. Sometimes, you have to forget about a precise daily routine, which always remains the same. That also applies to your location — certain willingness to travel is welcome.
Curiosity and extensive background knowledge are also crucial for a journalist because you have to be aware of all the hot topics around the world. One should be diligent as well so as not to lag behind the competitors. Stamina is also important!
Paths leading to the Journalism
Just as there is no universal job description of journalism, there is no only one way to answer the question of "How to become a journalist?". There is the possibility to study at a school for journalists, to study at a university or to go through the training. In the context of journalism, studying for this specific career path is useful, but not always obligatory. Below, the possibilities are highlighted.
To the question "How to become a journalist?" one can answer that this is possible by training at a journalism school. That training takes about 1.5 to 3 years. However, one should be aware that there could be only a few study places available. Therefore, there is a hard selection through application letters, tests, discussions, or exercises. One should apply for several journalism schools at the same time. Also, an important aspect here is the cost of training, as some of the training courses are chargeable. In some cases, you get a monthly salary, which is usually low, so you should worry about the financing.
Another possible answer to the question "How to become a journalist?" is studying at a university. It is not a requirement for the profession, but quite helpful. The variety of specific areas you may consider to become a journalist is wide. You can study journalism with different emphases and research its certain aspects in depth. But that's not the only subject that's matters. For example, many journalists have studied humanities. Actually, journalism is accessible for anyone who entered the university successfully.
The internship is specialized training in the press, the radio, online editorial offices or agencies, and it lasts from 1 to 1.5 years. That can be completed before or after studying or attending the school of journalism. Up to 80% of young professionals go through such traineeship. After it, however, a steady paycheck isn't guaranteed. Oftenly, at the end of this study, you may get interesting offers or contracts. Usually, only one-third of the volunteers succeed.
It can be said that many paths lead to successful journalism. Whether it is a school, university, extra courses, or volunteering, everything is possible. However, we recommend you combining several paths, for example, a degree and an internship — that will help you to find out a strategy that works the best for you. Choose the subject you are genuinely interested in. Even if you have made a name for yourself and work as a freelance journalist, don't be afraid to accept not only the offers you are competent in. Remain inspired by journalism to be successful!