Trying to break into Journalism?
Journalism now covers many media possibilities. These include: radio, TV, newspapers (local and national) consumer magazines, business magazines, niche subscription-only titles, online news sites, podcasts, online video and blogs.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in journalism, give some thought to:
- Get as much work experience as possible and do as much journalism as you can. This could be for your school, college or university, for your local or hospital radio, local or university newspapers or online. Show potential employers that you’re committed, and that you’re aware of what’s going on in the world.
- Experience is everything. There are two ways you can gain experience. One is to do as many work experience placements as you can manage, and to write for school, college and university newsletters, specialist magazines and local free papers. In short, for any media that will print your name next to an article. If you can edit newsletter or magazine for a club, or even as part of a job you're already doing, don't pass up the opportunity. The other way to get experience is to do a course - whether it's a training course, an undergraduate course or a postgraduate course - of which work experience is a mandatory part. (e.g. take a look at the British College of Journalism). These two shouldn't be exclusive. A would-be journalist should write as much as he or she can, whether or not it's mandatory.
- Start your own blog – it does not matter what it is. Or offer your services free to other sites and try and get printed.
- Keep persevering – you will have to do a lot of work experience for free. Develop a good portfolio in freelance journalism.
Qualifications & Courses
- Some of the training courses run by newspapers and publishers end with a job. Academic qualifications just end and leave you looking for a job.
- In terms of university, you can study journalism or a relevant subject (eg media studies) at undergraduate degree level or at postgraduate level. Take a look at the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC). They have a list of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate that are accredited. It accredits nearly 70 courses at 42 colleges, universities and commercial organisations. Nearly all the main broadcasting employers in the UK are BJTC partners.
- However you do not have to do a media degree to get into journalism. English, languages, law and business degrees are all very popular.
- Consider an undergraduate degree with a sandwich element so you get a year’s work experience (3e.g. City)
- Remember that most employers will be looking for a relevant qualification - an Undergraduate degree, a Postgraduate Diploma or MA in Broadcasting, Radio, Multi-Media, TV or Online Journalism.
- Also take a look at The National Council for Training of Journalists (NCTJ), which advertise courses for print and online journalism.
- Take a look at the courses offered by The Professional Publishers Associations (PPA) and the Periodicals Training Council (PTC).