How to become a magazine journalist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
- specialist journalism courses
Magazine journalists can come from a wide variety of subject backgrounds. Particularly relevant degree subjects include:
Some courses are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
You can do a postgraduate journalism course if your first degree is not in a related subject. Some of these are also accredited by the Professional Publishers Association.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has advice on bursaries and funding to encourage greater diversity in journalism.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You could take a college course like the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism.
It will give you some of the skills and knowledge you'll need to go on to do further journalism training. This could be through an apprenticeship or further study.
Most people following this route have:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You can work towards this role through a journalist or a senior journalist higher apprenticeship.
Employers will set their own entry requirements.
Competition for jobs is strong, especially with well-known magazines. Developing a network of contacts is essential. You'll find it useful to have examples of your published work in a portfolio.
To gain practical experience and get to know people in the industry you could:
- contact magazines for information on work shadowing, internships and work experience
- write reviews of films, plays or products
- volunteer for a charity looking to develop their website or communications
- write your own blog and build an online presence
- create content for university media like student newspapers, society websites, student radio or TV
You could apply directly for jobs, especially if you have knowledge of the specialist area the magazine covers. For example, in healthcare, science or technical subjects.
You would need to build up a network of contacts as many journalist jobs are not advertised.
You can study Level 5 and above professional qualifications in journalism which are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). Courses are available online or at a college or training centre.
The Level 5 Diploma in Journalism has practical magazine journalism optional units.
The NCTJ also offer online and short courses to help develop essential skills like:
- writing for the web
- media law
- feature writing
It's useful to develop skills for creating online media content like:
- search engine optimisation (SEO)
- technical skills like HTML
- using web design packages
Professional and industry bodies
As a journalism student you can apply for student membership of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). The NUJ also has information on bursaries that may be available.
You can find out more about working in magazine publishing and journalism from the: