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)

£15,000 Starter

to

£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly

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

University

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 for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

College

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) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a junior journalist.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

More information

Work

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.

Volunteering and experience

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.

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

There are a number of bursaries available to 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

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

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • investigating a story as soon as it breaks
  • following up potential leads and developing new contacts
  • interviewing people face-to-face and over the phone
  • attending press conferences
  • recording meetings and interviews using recording equipment or shorthand
  • coming up with ideas for stories and features
  • writing up articles in a style that will appeal to the reader
  • sub-editing other reporters' articles for publication
  • writing up articles for online publication

Working environment

You could work in an office.

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

Career path and progression

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

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a newspaper journalist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Journalism - Nationalism and Unionism in 19th Century Ireland

  • Provider: COMMUNITY LEARNING AND SKILLS
  • Start date: 03 March 2020
  • Location: Sevenoaks

Introduction to journalism

  • Provider: CITY LIT
  • Start date: 19 February 2020
  • Location: London

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No