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Newspaper journalist

Alternative titles for this job include Reporter, press officer

Newspaper journalists investigate and write up stories for local, regional and national newspapers.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a newspaper journalist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies


You may find it useful to have a degree in a subject like journalism or English. This will help you develop the skills you'll need as a journalist.

You could also do a postgraduate course in journalism. Some of these are accredited by the Professional Publishers Association.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More Information


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant qualifications include Level 3 Diploma in Journalism or Level 3 Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.

Some colleges offer the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism and courses in Shorthand, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


Higher apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • Level 5 journalist
  • Level 7 senior journalist

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More Information


You could start as an office assistant or trainee reporter on a local or regional newspaper.

You'll need a minimum of five GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, or equivalent qualifications. Many recruits have A levels or degree level qualifications.


Competition for jobs is strong, and you'll need to show you've got writing experience. You'll find it useful to have examples of your published work in a portfolio, especially if these include your name as the author.

To build up your experience you can:

  • volunteer for student and community newspapers
  • write your own blog and have an online presence on social media
  • submit articles and reviews to local papers or websites

Other Routes

You can study a range of professional qualifications in journalism, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). These are available either online or part-time at a training centre.

If you have a degree, you may be able to do a Fast Track NCTJ Diploma in Journalism course offered by National Council for the Training of Journalists.

More Information

Career tips

The NCTJ is working to promote diversity in journalism through its Diversity Fund for eligible journalism students.

Professional and industry bodies

As a journalism student you can apply for student membership of the National Union of Journalists.

Further information

You can find out more about working in journalism from the National Union of Journalists.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent written communication skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • investigate a story as soon as it breaks
  • follow up potential leads and develop new contacts
  • interview people face-to-face and over the phone
  • attend press conferences
  • record meetings and interviews using recording equipment or shorthand
  • research and come up with ideas for stories and features
  • write up articles in a style that will appeal to the reader
  • sub-edit other reporters' articles for publication online and in print
  • gather and edit content produced by the newspaper's users

Working environment

You could work in an office or visit sites.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding and you'll travel often.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could take further training and work towards senior journalist roles with more responsibility.

With experience, you could become a chief reporter or a specialist writer, covering areas like politics, business or particular regions of the country. You could move to a national newspaper or work as a critic.

You could move into other areas such as magazine, broadcast or online journalism. Or you could work in a press office or public relations.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Journalist Apprentice

  • Wage: £10,296.00 Annually
  • Location: Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Courses In England

NCTJ L3 Cert in Journalism

  • Start date: 06 September 2024
  • Location: Warrington

NCTJ Diploma in Journalism (18 months - February)

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Portsmouth

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