How to get into journalism

I want to become a journalist but everyone keeps telling me there’s no way I’ll be able to make it. Regardless of what they say, I’m going to at least give it a shot. So I was just wondering what the best subjects to study are? And how I would go about getting into it?

It’s great to hear that you have a clear vision of the career path you want to take. We’d suggest that you decide which medium you want to work in first: print, online, television or radio. Journalism is a competitive field, so the area you decide to work in will affect the qualifications you need. Even if you don’t have to do a specific subject, you might have to get a certain grade. For a basic guide to study options for any professional field, take a look here.

Courses and qualifications for getting a job in journalism

Obviously a qualification in English is essential, but the other subjects you choose to study might also depend on the type of content you want to write about. There are a variety of subjects covered by journalists. These include everything from sports and politics to food and music. So have a think about which direction you want to follow.

It might also be worth speaking with your school/university’s careers advisor about extra courses you could take. Going out of your way to get experience will give you the best opportunity to get into journalism.

What do journalism courses involve?

At degree and postgraduate level, you’ll find lots of specific journalism courses. On these courses you’ll typically learn how to construct a story, conduct interviews and research your ideas. You will also cover media law, working online, a specialism and possibly shorthand. 

These courses often require students to find work experience placements as well. That way you get to make contacts, learn about the working environment and gain new skills. It’s a really helpful way to set you up for the real world.

Finding work experience in journalism & building a CV

So at this point you’re probably wondering how to get into journalism as a career. 

Even if you don’t do a specialist course in journalism, work experience can be invaluable on your CV. One way of finding work experience is to research the publications, websites, TV or radio stations that interest you and write to them directly. Most media companies will have contact details on their website. It’s important to remember that these places will be in demand so be polite and concise when you get in touch. If they get back to you, make sure you’re as flexible as possible with your availability.

You can also try asking friends of friends if anyone knows someone who works in journalism. Finding a contact can be a good way to get a foot in the door for the most competitive work experience placements. To learn more about what work experience involves, click here, and check out our tips for how to write a CV here.

Building a portfolio

How to get into journalism 101? Start saving every piece you’ve written.

If you’re interested in print or online journalism, try to build up a portfolio of your work. This could be articles or reviews you’ve had published in your student paper, a website you’ve helped set up, or even a blog you’ve written. These will all serve as evidence of your interest in the industry and give employers an idea of your writing style.

Further help with getting a job in journalism

Here are some links to help you out: 

Answered by bss on 25-Sep-2012

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