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.
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.
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.