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Journalists can work in TV, radio, newspapers, online news, magazines, the trade press or specialist journals. Many work across these industries and freelancing is common.
Within the publishing industry there are many roles available and a wide range of skills needed. While an appreciation of literature and a love of books is a good starting point, commercial awareness and an understanding of business is vital in this highly competitive, multi-million-pound industry.
Science graduates seeking a career outside the lab can find rewarding roles in science communication and academic publishing.
Research the sector and keep up with current issues by reading:
Jobs in journalism and publishing are varied and the specific skills will depend on your role. Skills can include:
Journalism is open to graduates of any degree, but some choose to take a postgraduate qualification in journalism to develop their skills. The best courses are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) or the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC).
The Guardian Foundation offers a number of bursaries each year to support students from under-represented groups to do an MA in Journalism (deadline end of April).
Experience is essential if you want to work in journalism or publishing. Read the Media and creative industries work experience (PDF , 987kb) to find out how and where to get experience. You should think about:
Many publishers are based in London. If you don’t have access to accommodation in London but want to take advantage of work experience opportunities there, use The Spare Room Project, which offers publishing interns a spare room in the house of a publisher.
There are opportunities exclusively for under-represented groups in the sector to gain work experience in journalism and publishing, such as the Guardian Positive action scheme (BAME schemes, and a scheme for people with disabilities) and and Creative Access (BAME and those with lower socioeconomic status).
Journalism jobs are advertised:
Freelancers find work by pitching ideas to media organisations; Mediargh has some advice on putting together a feature pitch.
You’ll be expected to have a portfolio of your work, so save yourself time by putting this together as you build up your experience. Many budding journalists put this on their website or blog, but beware of copyright restrictions when including copy you wrote when working for media organisations.
There are a few graduate schemes but they are very competitive:
Publishing jobs are advertised:
There are also a small number of popular schemes with large publishers:
There are lots of things you can do right now at university to help you get the skills and experience for a career in journalism or publishing: