What is a Journalist?

A popular career path for those interested in writing and digital media, journalism offers recent grads the opportunity to learn about all aspects of news-focused writing in areas including politics, travel and lifestyle. If you’re considering becoming a journalist, you might be wondering what this career path entails and whether it could be a good fit for you.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about being a journalist.

What is a journalist?

Working for a newspaper, magazine or news outlet, a journalist is someone who reports on current events by gathering relevant information and then presenting that information to the public. Depending on their specialty, journalists can be writers, TV reporters, photo or video journalists, each using their specific medium to craft engaging stories that resonate with the public while delivering important information.

What does a journalist do?

From covering the latest news at New York Fashion Week to reporting on presidential elections, journalists are responsible for identifying topics that are important to the public and then coming up with well-researched stories on those topics. A broad field that covers many specialist areas — including technology, politics, breaking news, entertainment and lifestyle — journalism is essentially a form of storytelling based on facts and information.

What are the challenges of being a journalist?

A notoriously fast-paced field, journalism definitely has some challenges. These include long hours (after all, news never sleeps), high competition for jobs and a constantly-shifting media landscape that requires journalists to consistently learn about new technologies and new forms of reporting. In addition to these challenges, journalism is also not a very high-paid profession — at least not in the beginning — meaning that journalists often work long hours without much financial reward.

What are the benefits of being a journalist?

Although journalism definitely has its fair share of challenges, it also has a lot of benefits including the excitement of being among the first to know when a big news story is about to break, the potential to travel in order to cover a story and the chance to meet exciting and interesting people from all over the world.

What is a typical salary for a journalist?

A typical entry-level journalist salary is approximately $36,000, with senior reporters typically earning upwards of $70,000 and senior-level editors — such as managing editors and executive editors — earning upwards of $90,000.

An exciting and rapidly evolving field, journalism has a lot to offer recent grads. The best way to find out if being a journalist is right for you is by doing an internship and getting a hands-on feel for the role.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Set Great Internship or Job Goals and find answers to common interview questions such as What Motivates You?