A journalist is responsible for the researching, writing and compiling of articles for a publication or online audience. Journalists may work for newspapers, magazines, broadcasting agencies or websites and may have to create articles especially for a certain audience. Journalists may typically come from a background in english, although today many graduates entering the field have also had specific education in journalism itself. To secure a career in journalism, work experience is vital and graduates will need to be able to demonstrate published examples of their work. Let’s take a look at insights directly from grads in journalism to find out more about what it’s really like to work in the field…

1. Daily Tasks

‘No day is the same. There is huge variety in the training which is conducted by the Press Association’s industry-leading team. And on the regional placement recruits will be expected and asked to do anything and everything. Interviewing models to investigating council corruption; going to children’s parties to attending tribunals. Plus everything in between.’
Graduate Trainee, Editorial at Telegraph Media Group
‘Checking articles submitted by journalists for accuracy, spelling and grammar. Cutting text down to fit allotted space. Writing headlines and captions. Laying out pages. Rewriting poorly written material.’
Sub-editor, at Haymarket
‘Talk, talk, talk. Contacts are everything. It is crucially important to have sources of information for whatever topic one is writing on, on any given day. Once the information has been obtained, then with the input of an editor and perhaps colleagues a story can be written. At this stage one’s analytical and verbal (written) skills come to the fore. It is one’s own responsibility to build up a list of relevant and reliable contacts, and gain their trust. Phone calls, lunches, after-work drinks etc. are all part and parcel of the job in order to generate and maintain contacts. One must all be ‘all over’ the specialist topics one writes about. So much extra-curricular reading is also required.’
Financial Journalist, at Dow Jones
‘Influence. When what you write can potentially affect companies’ share prices, you get taken notice of.’
Financial Journalist, at Dow Jones
‘The training is really thorough. It covers both traditional journalistic skills and techniques as well as tools needed to do journalism in a digital age. There is a seven week training course to begin with, followed by a two month placement at Press Association (a national news agency), a four month placement at a regional title and then a one month placement at a digital news organisation. After this there is a period of rotation around the main editorial departments at The Telegraph.’
Editorial Trainee, at Telegraph Media Group
“Positives: Don’t routinely have to stay late. Negatives: This job is only suitable for people who are able to concentrate for entire days. Incredibly samey work. Sub-editors do not always find it easy to become writers/reporters – don’t expect to be able to transfer. Very little creativity. Little responsibility. If you’re lumbered with a bad journalist’s work to sub, you end up tidying up stuff they’ve just not been bothered with, which is pretty disheartening. Listening to ads people selling all day got pretty annoying after a couple of years…!’
Sub-editor, at Haymarket
9am – 7pm
£21,000 – £23,000
Application Advice: For most subbing jobs you’ll need to have a journalism qualification. Do at least a week’s work experience specifically in a sub-editing role. It will help you get a job and also help you to decide if you really want one! You’ll be given a proofing test at interview.
Sub-editor, at Haymarket
Application Advice: Try and get in to the paper do shifts, casual work or intern. At the very least grill a past trainee or an employee about the scheme and the titles. Make them laugh but don’t play all your cards at once, know when to listen and hold-back.
Graduate Trainee, Editorial at Telegraph Media Group
Application Advice: Be very honest. Make sure that you check and double check your spelling as the recruitment team is very hot on this.
Induction Business Partner, HR at Telegraph Media Group
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