How to become a 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:
- 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.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
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:
- multimedia journalism
- creative digital media
- creative writing
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
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.
Employers will set their own entry requirements.
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
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
You may be able to get help with funding for certain NCTJ courses through the Journalism Diversity Fund.
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.
You can find out more about working in journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).