What Does a Day in the Life of a Journalist Look Like?

From covering breaking news to researching features, journalists have a lot of variety in their day-to-day work. If you’re thinking of becoming a journalist, you might be wondering what a day in the life of a journalist looks like. Are you likely to spend most of your time writing or will you be conducting a lot of interviews. The answer will depend on your specific role but most journalists do a combination of the following things:

Staying on top of news trends

Since journalism is all about what’s happening in the moment, one of the key parts of any journalist’s day is to stay on top of news trends by checking newswires such as the Associated Press or Reuters and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Doing this throughout the day allows journalists to come up with and editorial plan and assign reporters to stories that need to be covered.

Researching stories

Once a journalist has their assignment, they’re responsible for conducting in-depth research into the story. This includes identifying potential sources, fact checking numbers, dates and other important pieces of information and doing contextual research to find out related news items that should be referenced in the final piece.

Interviewing people

Another important part of a journalist’s day is to go out and interview people. This can include talking to voters outside of a polling station when covering an election, interviewing medical experts about a new advancement in medicine or chatting with a celebrity about their latest film. Whatever the context of the story, journalists are responsible for getting the information straight from the source and then synthesizing this information into a story that they can share with the public.

Writing and editing

After researching the story and conducting interviews, journalists spend time identifying the key points of the story and creating a structure for it. They then use the information they’ve gathered to add detail and color to the story and to make it as informative as possible before sending it to an editor for review and publication.

An exciting and challenging career path, journalism offers recent grads the opportunity to be at the frontline of breaking news while also helping them develop engaging storytelling skills. To find out if being a journalist is right for you, consider doing an internship with a news or media outlet.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Getting an Entry-Level Job With No Experience and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What is a Journalism Major and is it Right for Me?

Have you always been a natural writer? Do you love being persistent when talking to people? If you enjoy getting to the truth of a matter as well as putting in the work to research, write and edit stories about issues around the globe, the world of journalism may be for you.

What is a journalism major?

Majoring in journalism is a fast-paced endeavor, where you’ll be quickly learning the ins and outs of how to write a variety of different types of stories on many different topics. You’ll often be sent out into the field to work on your own, and you’ll have to come back with polished articles on quick, hard deadlines.

Is it right for me?

If the idea of getting to research, write and edit stories sounds great to you, here are several key questions to consider before you commit to majoring in journalism.

  • Do I feel confident in my basic writing, research and editing skills?
  • Am I someone who likes to spend lots of time fact-checking my work and making sure every detail is correct?
  • Do I like reaching out to people (often through cold calls or emails) to interview them for a story? Am I persistent in following up with people to get what I want?
  • Am I okay with not everyone liking a story I publish? How do I react to backlash?
  • Am I able to handle and incorporate criticism and feedback from my professors and peers? Do I have a thick skin when it comes to my writing?
  • Am I okay doing lots of my research, writing and editing by myself?
  • Am I good at multitasking and working on multiple stories on a variety of topics at once?
  • Will I dedicate myself to getting internships and jobs through college that will further my level of experience?

What can I do with a journalism degree?

Often people say that journalism is a dying field, but that can’t be further from the truth. While traditional print journalism might not be in the same place it was several decades ago, it is still relevant. Additionally, digital journalism has become more and more prevalent, and there are many different jobs out there for people with a journalism degree.

There are also many people with journalism degrees who work on the opposite side of the industry in public relations roles, pitching ideas and stories to journalists on behalf of clients.

Some potential career options include becoming a journalist, blogger, social media manager, broadcast journalist, communications manager, publicist, marketing manager, advertising copywriter, multimedia reporter, photographer and editor.

What do journalists earn?

Journalism is a field where salaries vary greatly based on where you’re located, what your official title is and the type of company you work for (for instance, a bootstrapped media startup versus and established magazine brand). Starting salaries typically run between $25,000 to $40,000 depending on those factors.

Many journalists also choose to go the freelance route, which affects your income from month to month. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a comfortable living; it just means that your salary won’t be consistent every single month, and some months may be tighter financially than others.

If you do choose to pursue a career in journalism rather than something like public relations or marketing, you’ll most likely be on the lower end of the salary spectrum, around $35,000 to $40,000 per year.


Next, learn more about this college major such as Accounting and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 10 Tips for the Perfect Cover Letter.

Types of Internships for Journalism Majors

For those majoring in journalism, there is no better way to explore potential career options than by taking on an internship. Internships for journalism majors are wide-ranging, giving you the hands-on experience you need and an in-depth look at the industry of your choice. Best of all, internships are a great way of getting one step closer to your dream job.

Here are some of the most common internships for journalism majors:

Journalism intern

As a journalism intern for a newspaper, magazine or a digital media property, you’ll learn how to produce engaging content that fits the style and tone of your publication. During your internship, you’ll take on projects such as conducting interviews, uploading website content and managing the company’s social media accounts. You may also be offered the opportunity to write articles which you can add to your portfolio. If you’re considering a career in journalism, this is the internship for you.

Editorial intern

An editorial internship is similar to a journalistic one except that it’s not always affiliated with a traditional publication. As an editorial intern, you might be hired by a PR company, a startup or a nonprofit to develop content for their website. During your internship, you’ll be responsible for writing content, sourcing photos and crafting posts that can be used across the company’s social channels. You’ll contribute to strategy designed to increase the organization’s internet presence. In addition to researching, writing, editing and creating outlines for new articles, you’ll also monitor feedback and statistics for blog posts and assist with SEO strategy. This is a great internship for anyone who wants to learn as much as possible about digital media and to develop solid editorial skills along the way.

Content marketing intern

A content marketing internship is perfect for journalism majors who are looking to work closely with marketing, advertising and PR teams. From writing content for the company’s website to organizing and researching information for the organization’s newsletter, you’ll be participating in most aspects of content marketing and sharpening your copywriting skills along the way. During your internship, you’ll also get a chance to research, outline and write blog posts relevant to your company’s target audience as well as writing press releases for new campaigns. This is a wonderful internship for anyone interesting in going into marketing after graduation.

Social media intern

As a social media intern, you’ll assist in crafting social media posts and monitor the impact of those posts across different social channels. You’ll also get hands-on experience with social media tools like Google Analytics and HootSuite, as well as learning how to use metrics to optimize campaigns. This is a great internship for journalism majors interested in developing creative social campaigns and engaging users in the process.

Copywriting intern

A copywriting internship is all about writing engaging material and maintaining good communication with your team. As a copywriting intern, you’ll gain hands-on experience writing brochures, reports and marketing materials. You’ll also assist with drafting and editing blog posts, news articles and website content. Last but not least, you’ll learn how to monitor marketing and media trends and modify your writing style to suit your audience. This a wonderful internship for anyone interested in advertising or marketing.

Broadcast intern

As a broadcast intern for a TV or radio station, you’ll get to observe the planning, operation and execution of a TV show, radio program or podcast. Your responsibilities could range from administrative duties like researching and fact-checking news stories to more advanced tasks like booking guests, developing scripts and putting together press releases. If you’re interested in learning about broadcasting, this could be the right internship for you.

Whether you’re interning at a famous digital media company or writing copy for a small tech startup, a journalism internship will give you the skills you need to succeed in your first job after graduation.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Journalism Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job?

What is a Communications Major and is it Right for Me?

Do you enjoy talking to people and figuring out what makes them tick? Are you an outgoing person who is comfortable connecting with diverse groups of people and getting your message across effectively? If you answered yes to these questions, then being a communications major might just be for you.

What is a communications major?

A communications major is a major designed to teach you about effective communication and how to apply it to fields like media, law and business. Coursework for this major is very similar to coursework for related majors such as public relations, advertising and journalism. As a communications major, you’ll be taking a broad range of classes including marketing, sociology and business as well as more traditional communications classes like media studies and journalism.

Is it right for me?

Majoring in communications means having a broad understanding of how this field impacts others such as business and media. Here are some key questions to ask yourself before embarking on this major:

Do I feel confident in my writing and communication skills?
Do I like studying a broad range of subjects including sociology, psychology and media studies?
Am I able to handle and incorporate criticism and feedback from my professors and peers?
Am I good at multitasking and working on multiple projects and subjects at once?
Will I dedicate myself to getting internships and jobs through college that will further my level of experience?

What can I do with a communications major?

Since communications is a broad major with significant overlap to other majors, there are plenty of available career options. Some of the most common ones include:

  • public relations
  • journalism
  • law
  • marketing
  • copywriting
  • … and more

What do communications majors earn?

Salaries for communications majors are as varied as the career paths they take after graduation. While public relations specialists can expect to earn starting salaries between $40,000-$45,000, entry-level salaries for attorneys start at $55,000-$60,000 and quickly go up from there.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Marketing Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Answer: Are You Willing to Travel?.

Types of Internships for Communications Majors

With their ability to communicate effectively in almost any situation, communications majors are some of the most sought after candidates in all sorts of professional fields. With so many opportunities available, you might be wondering how to find a job that’s a good fit for you. The best way to do that is through an internship where you can get exposure to a specific field or position.

Here are some of the best internships for communications majors:

Marketing intern

As a marketing intern, you’ll assist the marketing team with projects and find out how marketers help brands connect with their audience. During your internship, you’ll be taking on a number of tasks such as collaborating on blog post ideas, developing social media strategy and writing email copy. As a result, you’ll be gaining lots of hands-on experience and also getting exposed to all of the different elements involved in crafting a successful marketing campaign.

Editorial intern

From sharpening your SEO skills to shadowing an editorial meeting, an editorial internship can be a great and enriching experience. Depending on the type of company you intern with, you could be writing blog or news articles, learning how to research and fact-check news stories, or learning the ins and outs of copy editing and AP style.

Public relations intern

As a public relations intern, you’ll assist the PR team with campaign strategy, pitches and handling client relationships. You’ll also likely get to attend publicity events including sporting events and product launches. Best of all, you’ll learn the basics of writing a press release and assisting in the development of a full-scale PR campaign.

Content marketing intern

Content marketing internships give you direct exposure to drafting content for the company website, as well as copy for ads and blog posts. In addition, you’re likely to also get hands-on experience with other things such as managing social media accounts. Best of all, you’ll get to sit in meetings where ideas for new content are developed.

Social media intern

As a social media intern, you’ll engage your company’s followers, commenters and readers, while also attempting to grow the community. From coming up with funny memes to post on Instagram to crafting a great Snapchat story, a social media internship is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about engagement and about how to use social media as a powerful tool for business.

Copywriting Intern

As a copywriting intern, you’ll be trained in researching, drafting and editing copy for all types of content including blog posts, news articles and email campaigns. You’ll also learn how to match your writing style to a specific brand and fine-tune your copywriting skills. This internship is a great opportunity to get a feel for what’s required to thrive as a full-time copywriter.

Broadcast intern

A broadcast internship is a wonderful opportunity to learn the ins and out of working for a TV or radio station. From shadowing staff to fact-checking, researching and assisting with different aspects of production, you’ll be getting exposure to the whole world of broadcasting. Best of all, internship experience in broadcasting is essential and valued when it comes to applying for full-time jobs in the field after graduation.

In addition to the critical skills communications majors develop during college, they also benefit from the more specialized hands-on experience that can only result from an internship. By taking on one or more internships during your time in college, you’ll be able to learn more about your options and find a career path that’s right for you.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Communications Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In an Internship.

How to Use a Blog to Apply for An Internship

Writing a blog post on why you would like to work at a company is a brilliant way to stand out. A blog post application serves two purposes:

1.) It demonstrates that you understand and know how to use important online marketing and communication tools.

2.) The medium itself allows you to express a voice and excitement for a company in a manner that is much stronger and more powerful than a traditional cover letter.

There are two easy to use services for writing a blog post on — Tumblr and WordPress!

takes only a few seconds to setup and is built to allow to get applying quickly.

is more customizable, a little more complex to setup, but has a ton of additional tools and features to help you standout.  It is also more commonly used by companies so is more helpful in teaching you the right skills when applying for a marketing or communications role.


This blog post by Lisa Petrilli explains 4 ways your blog can succeed in making you standout and offers additional insight on why this strategy can be effective.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What is Public Relations?

If you’re a marketing or communications major, then you’re probably considering a career in public relations. Even if you’re not majoring in one of these subjects, you may be wondering about what working in the PR industry entails and whether it could be a good fit for you.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about working in public relations.

What is public relations?

Public relations is an area of communications that focuses on shaping and managing the public profile of a company or individual. As the public face of a particular brand, PR professionals are responsible for defining the story behind that brand and then making the story compelling to a broader audience. This is usually done by developing various campaigns (such as events, contests and social media strategies) designed to help promote the client’s story and engage a specific audience.

What do public relations professionals do?

Public relations professionals are essentially brand ambassadors, helping to promote the brands they represent and to establish strong relationships between clients and their audiences. The day-to-day role of PR specialists can look quite different depending on whether they’re representing multiple clients at an agency or whether they’re based in-house at a specific company, but most PR executives typically do a mix of the following things:

  1. Build relationships with journalists and pitch stories related to the clients they represent.
  2. Write press releases promoting a specific product or news item related to their clients.
  3. Manage relationships with clients to ensure that they understand their specific publicity needs and can strategize accordingly.
  4. Track and report the results of PR campaigns and optimize campaigns based on those metrics.

Pro Tip: PR roles can vary widely depending on whether you work for a small firm or a large one. At a small firm (or on an in-house team) you’re likely to be much more focused on a specific campaign or an aspect of a campaign, whereas at a large firm you’re more likely to be managing several accounts at once and to be executing strategies for all of those brands simultaneously.

What are the challenges of working in public relations?

Since public relations is a fast-moving industry, one of the main challenges PR professionals face is staying ahead of the news cycle. This involves keeping a close eye on breaking news stories (and media trends) and capitalizing on those stories when they come up. In order to do this effectively, you have to be able to think quickly since you’ll typically need to send pitches to journalists within the same day (and often the same hour) of a news story breaking. A related challenge is that you cannot control the news cycle. Although you might have a great story lined up, a breaking news story could take precedence at any time, bumping your story for several days (or sometimes indefinitely). You might also find yourself sending out pitches repeatedly without getting a response, something that happens frequently in public relations.

In addition to staying on top of news trends, one of the other challenges PR specialists face is dealing with crises. Since public relations is all about maintaining the public image of a brand, PR specialists are often the front line of defense against crises related to legal issues, technical problems and even natural disasters. To be able to handle these situations effectively, PR firms are tasked with coming up with strategies to tackle these types of crises. If and when these issues do come up, it’s a PR rep’s job to handle them gracefully, with the brand’s best interests in mind.

What are the benefits of working in public relations?

Although public relations can be quite challenging at times, there are also many benefits to working in this industry. For example, PR reps are often invited to attend charity and press events on behalf of the brands they represent and are able to network with journalists and executives across almost every industry. In addition to great networking opportunities, PR professionals also have the opportunity to learn a lot about various industries (including popular industries like entertainment, technology and fashion), which can open up all sorts of career paths, both within PR and beyond it. By getting an in-depth view of how specific industries work and what it takes to succeed in those industries, PR professionals are able to truly match their skills with their passions.

What is a typical public relations professional salary?

Public relations is both an exciting field and a lucrative one. Entry-level salaries for PR professionals typically start at around $42,000 and go up from there. Account executives with one to two years of experience generally earn between $50-60,000 and senior professionals such as executive vice presidents can earn upwards of $180,000.

An exciting and challenging field, public relations offers candidates wonderful exposure to great brands and new industries. The best way to find out if working in public relations is right for you is by taking on an internship and getting a hands-on feel for the industry.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Be a Team Player and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What is a Literature Major and is it Right for Me?

Do you have a book on hand at all times? If you love reading literature classics and discussing them with others and you consider yourself a strong communicator, majoring in literature may be for you.

What is a literature major?

A literature major involves reading and analyzing works of literature. This means discussing texts and understanding their historical, cultural and literary significance. As a literature major, you’ll be responsible for understanding and explaining the impact of texts including poems, short stories and novels.

Is it right for me?

One of the biggest questions you probably have is how a literature major differs from the more widely-known English major. While it depends on the program you’re in, English majors typically take many more classes on a variety of different genres and mediums of writing, whereas literature majors (often called “comparative literature” majors) focus on literature from either a specific place or theme.

Regardless, both English and literature majors are extremely reading- and writing-intensive, and you’ll also have to discuss your ideas in all sorts of settings, from lecture halls to seminars.

  • Here are some key questions to ask yourself before you become a literature major:
  • Do I possess strong writing and reading skills? Am I able to push myself to read and write about books and other works that may not be of interest to me?
  • Am I comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings on various literature with professors and peers in both large and intimate settings?
  • Do I take constructive criticism and feedback well? Am I okay with both professors and peers critiquing my work and potentially disagreeing with my opinions or ideas?
  • Am I interested in most likely going abroad and studying in some of the places I’m reading about?
  • Am I ready and willing to take on a major capstone or thesis project towards the end of my college career?

What can I do with a literature degree?

Much like English majors, literature majors get a bad rap for studying something not transferrable to the real world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Literature majors graduate with strong reading, writing, critical thinking and communication skills, all of which serve them well in a variety of fields.

There are a large number of career options for people with literature degrees, which include positions such as journalist, author, writer, marketer, public relations specialist, professor, copywriter, editor, technical writer, publisher and lawyer.

What do people who major in literature earn?

Salaries vary based on the career you pursue, but if you’re interested in going into some form of communications like journalism, marketing or public relations, starting salaries are usually in the $35,000-$45,000 range.


Next, learn more about this college major such as Business and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Be a Team Player.

What Are the Different Types of Public Relations Jobs?

The field of public relations offers a lot of exciting opportunities for recent grads who are interested in learning about media relations and enthusiastic about helping companies promote their brands. If you’re considering a career in public relations, you might be wondering about the different types of PR jobs and trying to get a sense of which one is right for you.

Here are some of the most common roles within public relations.


A publicist is typically the role people think of when they think of a PR professional. Based either an agency or on an in-house team, publicists work directly with clients to help develop and execute their brand strategy. They are also responsible for coming up with publicity campaigns and identifying the best ways for clients to promote their brands to the press and to their customers. Many publicists also work with celebrities to promote their personal brands and professional projects.


Another role that can be part of an agency or in-house team, a copywriter is responsible for writing publicity and marketing materials on behalf of clients. This can include everything from press releases to blog posts and is usually done in accordance with a public relations strategy created by the PR team. In addition to writing different types of copy, copywriters are also responsible for maintaining a consistent brand voice and identity across multiple channels at the same time.

PR specialist

Acting as the first point of contact for media outlets, a PR specialist is responsible for generating positive press coverage for clients by developing relationships with journalists and coming up with relevant story pitches. In order for these pitches to be successful, they have to serve two functions: 1) They need to resonate with journalists by being newsworthy items and 2) They need to represent the client in a positive light.

Social media manager

A social media manager is another potential role on a public relations team. This position can be based either at an agency (working on multiple client accounts) or an in-house team (managing the social channels of a particular company). Working to promote the brand on various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the social media manager is responsible for creating engaging content, interacting with the brand’s community and measuring the success of various campaigns.


Acting as the face of the brand, the spokesperson is responsible for making statements on behalf of the company. This role is generally part of an in-house communications or PR team and is tasked with handling interview requests, making TV appearances and responding to any criticism the company might face.

The world of PR offers many great opportunities for those interested in developing exceptional communication skills and helping companies to build and maintain their public images. The best way to know which of these opportunities is right for you is by taking on an internship and getting some hands-on experience.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as the Top 10 Things You Should Look For in a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Strengths?

How to Become a Public Relations Specialist

Public relations is an exciting field with plenty of career opportunities for recent grads. If you’re interested in getting started in PR, you might be wondering about the best way to get your foot in the door. Should you attend networking events or try to land an internship at a PR agency? Ideally, you’ll want to do both.

Here are the steps you need to follow in order to become a public relations specialist.

1. Decide where your PR passion lies

Are you interested in working with several different companies or are you more passionate about getting really in-depth knowledge of one specific company? Your answer will help determine which direction you want your PR career to take. For example, if you’re interested in working with multiple brands and getting a high-level view of several different industries, then working at an agency might be the best bet for you. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in getting really hands-on knowledge of a specific industry, then working on an in-house PR team might be a better fit.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure which direction you want to take, we recommend taking on an internship at a PR agency. This will give you a great overview of the different types of accounts PR specialists work on while also giving you the hands-on experience you need to succeed in the industry.

2. Build your skill set by taking relevant classes

At its core, public relations is about storytelling and one of the keys to working in PR is being able to define and promote the stories of the brands you work with. In order to do this effectively, you need to have strong communication skills and a solid understanding of media and marketing trends. To build your skill set, we recommend taking relevant classes such as communications, marketing and media studies. These will help you develop your knowledge of the media industry while also giving you great insights into how to really engage an audience.

Pro Tip: Another way of developing your skills is by taking on a freelance project or creating a brand of your own. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a big project, but it should demonstrate that you understand how to create a brand identity. For example, if you’re interested in fashion as well as public relations, you could start a fashion blog and create a brand strategy around it. Although taking on this type of project is not necessary for landing a PR job, showing that you can take initiative and develop and execute a PR strategy will go a long way toward impressing hiring managers.

3. Take on a PR internship

Another great way to build your skill set is by taking on a PR internship. This will give you hands-on experience of working with clients and help you get a sense of what types of brands and industries you’d most like to work with. Depending on the type of internship you decide to do, you could be working on developing brand strategy, supporting account executives with managing client accounts, writing press releases, managing social channels and more. Taking on an internship is a great way to not only add valuable experience to your resume but to also get a sense of what you really want to do with your PR career.

4. Know what to expect from the interview process

Interviewing for a job in public relations involves showing that you’re informed about the industry and passionate about working with clients to help define and promote their stories. Common questions you’re likely to encounter include “What does public relations mean to you?” and “What is your favorite brand and why?” These questions are designed to test your understanding of branding and marketing techniques and to get a sense of your true interest in public relations. In order to answer them effectively, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re truly enthusiastic about the field and eager to learn more about helping brands succeed.

5. Network, network, network

One of the keys to landing a job in any industry is networking and this is especially important when it comes to public relations. This is because PR relies on building relationships between brands, journalists and audiences in order to deliver results. To do this successfully, it’s important to work on developing strong relationships with colleagues and journalists by attending networking events and meetups, and connecting with others on professional platforms such as LinkedIn.

Working in public relations is an exciting opportunity to promote brands you’re truly passionate about. By following these tips and developing your experience and your network, you’ll be sure to find an opportunity that’s right for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Write a Cover Letter and find answers to common interview questions such as Why Do You Want to Work Here?