Journalist Career

Journalists, also called reporters and correspondents, are hired to inform the public about news and events locally, nationally and internationally…either in print or broadcast. Job opportunities may include work with newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and online – with news websites, streaming media, and YouTube channels. The field also opens the doors for faith-based professionals to incorporate their religion into a career, such as reporting on local church services, profiling high-ranking clergy, or anchoring a religious news program.

Job Activities & Responsibilities

A journalist’s job description is shaped by the specific field they pursue and the training they’ve received – from magazine-writing to field reporting. For instance, a broadcast journalist (or anchor) delivers the news via television and radio, and may conduct on-air and offsite live interviews. Investigative journalists may spend months (and even years) researching and writing topics, from political corruption to religious organizations. A multimedia journalist incorporates video, audio and graphics to bring their stories to life, using a multitude of platforms to publish content. Their news reports could appear on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or a personal blog.

The majority of reporters and correspondents work on a full-time basis, but it is not uncommon for some to devote many evenings and weekends to cover breaking news that can happen at any time of the day or night. They may provide commentary or analysis, contribute to news programs, and update stories as they unfold –either voluntarily or when called upon.

Some of the things that journalists do on a day-to-day basis include:

• Research the topics and story ideas related to an assignment
• Pitch new ideas to editors
• Gather information for a story or article by interviewing people
• Write the copy and dialogue for articles, TV news reports and radio programs
• Fact-check articles for accuracy, review grammar, and use the appropriate style of writing
• Follow current news stories, and update when developments arise
• Collaborate with editors, photographers and other writers


A bachelor’s degree (preferably in journalism or communications) is the minimum educational background preferred by most newspapers, networks, and other publications that hire journalists.

Coursework for this type of degree program generally touches upon ethics and writing techniques associated with journalistic reporting. Some programs may require students to take liberal arts classes, such as English, history, literature, and political science. Electives often include courses related to print, broadcast, or multimedia studies. Students, who major in or concentrate their studies in a particular field (such as political science, economics or religion), are often seen as better qualified to cover, write and report on specific subjects.

Step by Step: How to Become a Journalist

1. Earn an undergraduate degree. Many degree programs combine a liberal arts or general education curriculum (like classes in history, political science, economics, mathematics, and English) with journalism courses, such as Newspaper Ethics, Law of the Press, and Reporting for the Web. Graduates are groomed to cover stories that represent a wide range of subjects.

2. Gain experience in the field. Professors prepare students for a career in journalism through classroom instruction, lectures, and by sending them out into the field to complete writing assignments. This is when they learn how to conduct an interview and research background information for articles. Volunteering or working at a college newspaper, radio or TV station is another way to build hands-on experience in the field. Some students pursue a mentor, or shadow a media professional for a week or two – like a beat reporter or news anchor.


Q and A

Did you like being a journalist?

I have enjoyed my career very much. I find it extremely rewarding, and that I play a valuable role in society.

What part of your job was the most fun?

The people. Through the years I have encountered, interviewed and used as sources many wonderful, intelligent people.

What did you dislike?

Again, the people. Some are arrogant, some are angry, some are deceitful. Also, the long and late hours can sometimes be demanding.

Did you have a favorite story you did?

When  I was first starting out I interviewed several surviving World War I veterans for a series of stories. I was able to preserve their memories and recollections for posterity. They were living proof that war is hell, regardless of the time period.

You also are a columnist, which do you prefer?

Serving as a journalist and editor and as a columnist both are very rewarding. My favorite parts of being a columnist are the freedom to write about pretty much whatever I want while realizing I have a group of readers who are interested in what I have to say, and the feedback and recognition I receive from those readers.

What are the best tid bits of advice you would give to any new journalist?

Learn, learn and then learn some more. Your writing can be no better than your grasp of the subject you are tackling, and can be no stronger than your research. Also, go  back over your work at least twice to proofread and fine tune each piece. Pay close attention to clarity and to word choice – word choice is the difference between good writing and great writing. Use the right word, not the almost right word.

Was your career fulfilling?

My career was extremely fulfilling. I can’t imagine having done anything else and felt nearly as fulfilled.