All about a career in journalism

Learn the basics about starting a career in journalism, from the various types of journalism to tips for landing that first journalism job.

Starting a career in journalism is all about drive and enthusiasm. Journalists must be focused and driven people with an energetic and self-motivated approach to their work. Because most journalist jobs and articles run on tight deadlines, people who can perform well under pressure are best suited towards the high-paced world of journalism. So check out this guide to starting a career in journalism and decide whether it might be right for you!

Types of Journalism:

Before you decide whether or not to pursue a career in journalism, it is important to think about what type of journalism interests you most. Contrary to popular belief, journalism is not just sitting at a desk writing for a local newspaper. There are a wide variety of subjects and types of media that journalists can work on, giving writers the chance to focus on the things that interest them most.

Of the many types of journalism, investigative journalism has one of the biggest followings. These are the people who dig up stories and uncover the scandals in the news. For many people, uncovering the truth about something is the main reason they get into journalism, and these are the people who generally end up in investigative journalism.

Political journalists cover the various goings-on in Washington. From various White House press rooms to local government panels and state politics, there is always something happening in the political world.

Foreign correspondents are journalists who cover international news and business. Because they have the chance to travel frequently, foreign positions are highly coveted in the world of journalism.

Finally, there are war correspondents, the brave people who go into battle fields and conflict zones to bring out the hidden stories of war. The most dangerous line of journalism, war reporters are also some of the most respected in the business. But the long hours, lonely months abroad, dangerous locations, and tough subject matter all combine to make the job all the more difficult.

Starting a journalism career:

Starting a career in journalism can happen at a very early age, and there are many chances for gaining practice and experience in a variety of ways. Like everything else, the more practice you have with it the easier it gets. Many people interested in journalism start in High School, writing for their school newspaper. Some work their way up to become editor, which can be great experience for future writing or editing positions. Having newspaper experience on your resume can also show your early interest and background in the field when applying for future jobs. Similarly, writing for a High School yearbook can also give great experience with layout and editing processes, as well as working in a team of writers and contributors.

For those who are serious about their desire to become a journalist, sometimes journalism school can be a great way to learn the skills of writing and investigating, as well as giving great experience and qualifications, which may make finding a job easier. A degree in journalism is often a requirement for jobs and job applications, as it shows a certain amount of skill and training for the job.

But journalism school is not mandatory, and there are a great number of ways to get started writing journalism reports even without a degree. One way to start is through freelancing. Freelance writers offer single stories or story ideas to newspapers and magazines. Though pay is often small, and the work is far from steady, freelancing is sometimes the only way to break into the writing world. Once you have submitted a few articles and gotten your name in print, it becomes easier to sell other articles, and possibly to turn your freelance position into a regular column or in-house job offer.

Another great way to start a career in journalism is through a basic internship with the organization or publication of your choice. Finding an internship can be done through personal contacts or job listings, and most student or summer internships will be unpaid. Though you may have to work a second job during the experience, internships will give you a glimpse into the inner workings of a newspaper or magazine, and will let you decide for yourself which position in journalism might be right for you. Most importantly, an internship will let you meet the important people and making personal contacts, which can often be turned into full-time job offers or other recommendations.

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