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Newspaper or magazine journalist

Alternative titles for this job include Reporter, press officer, features writer

Newspaper or magazine journalists write articles and stories for local, regional, national and online publications.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter


£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 42 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Newspaper or magazine 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 can take a degree course as a first step towards this career. Relevant subjects include:

  • English
  • journalism
  • media and communications

Some courses are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Graduates of other subjects can do a postgraduate course in journalism, lasting 1 to 2 years.

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 to get a trainee journalist position or to study at a higher level. Courses include:

  • journalism
  • multimedia journalism
  • creative digital media
  • creative writing
  • English

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

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You could apply for a place on an apprenticeship with a media organisation, such as:

  • Journalist Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship
  • Senior Journalist Level 7 Professional Apprenticeship

These usually take between 1 and 2 years to complete.

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, or junior feature writer for a magazine.

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 a degree.


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

To build up your writing experience you can:

  • volunteer for student and community newspapers, magazines and newsletters
  • write your own blog and create an online presence on social media
  • submit articles and reviews to local papers and websites
  • contact magazines about opportunities for work shadowing, internships and work experience

Other Routes

You can study for a number of professional qualifications in journalism at different levels, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). These can be done online, part-time or through fast-track training.

The NCTJ also offer online and short courses like:

  • digital skills
  • media law
  • feature writing
  • freelancing

You may be able to get help with funding for certain NCTJ courses through the Journalism Diversity Fund.

More Information

Career tips

It'll be useful for producing online content if you can:

  • use search engine optimisation (SEO) methods
  • develop skills in basic HTML
  • get experience of using different social media platforms

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 Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

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
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • 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

As a newspaper or magazine journalist, you could:

  • attend content planning meetings and develop ideas for features
  • investigate stories as they break and follow up leads
  • research stories, check facts and interview people in person, over the phone and online
  • attend press conferences, product launches and events
  • write up content for publication in print and online
  • sub-edit other journalists' articles set for publication
  • work closely with professionals like photographers and editors

Working environment

You could work in an office, visit sites or from home.

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

As your career develops, you might specialise in a particular field, such as:

  • sport
  • politics
  • business and finance
  • investigative journalism
  • fashion or lifestyle

With experience, you could become a chief reporter, features writer or editor at a newspaper, magazine or press agency. You could also work freelance.

You could also move into other areas, such as broadcast journalism, communications or public relations.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Newspaper or magazine 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

NCTJ L3 Cert in Journalism

  • Start date: 06 September 2024
  • Location: Warrington

NCTJ Diploma in Journalism (18 months - September)

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Portsmouth

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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