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Top Careers You Can Pursue With A Journalism Background

. 9 min read . Written by Gauri Ratnam
Top Careers You Can Pursue With A Journalism Background

“There’s more respect for people who are brave, who take a stand, than someone sitting in a big office, in a big organisation”- Faye D’Souza

The essence of journalism lies in facts. You can pave the way for change with investigative journalism or allow your opinion to shine with nuanced reviews. Journalists hold the power to effect change and make a difference in people’s lives. 

Journalism degrees are usually an exploratory experience, so you can try your hand at various avenues, whether multimedia journalism, broadcast journalism, or more. The assignments and internships will highlight not only strengths lie but also the skills you need to hone.

Once you have your journalism degree in hand, curious and excited to explore this field, the obvious question is: ‘What next?’ Journalism isn’t what it used to be a decade ago. With the emergence of digital platforms and cross-functional disciplines, the jobs available post your journalism degree are plenty, and you can even transfer your skills across industries and roles.

Here are some jobs you can bag with a journalism degree, along with the skills you will need to harness your career in journalism and mass communication

1. Reporter/ Writer

As a reporter, your primary responsibility is to inform and educate the audience about the latest happenings in the world!

Reporters are often misconstrued as storytellers. However, the job of a reporter is to stay informed, conduct research, interview people, and craft a factual story. Journalism majors usually get hired at magazines, newspapers, television channels, websites, and radio as reporters or staff writers. Credibility matters in this field, as your voice can push for change and hold people in power accountable.

Working as a reporter for a digital platform entails writing and uploading news pieces that carry your name as the author. In a newsroom, you’ll craft lines for news anchors to read out during their segment.

If hard facts aren’t your area of interest, content creation will allow you to transfer your journalistic skills into your writing. For example, you can look up organisations that publish opinion pieces, features, investigative pieces, listicles, or category-oriented content to bring direction and perspective to your writing. If reviews are your forte, you can become a film critic or write scripts for video reviews.

The key success factor in this role is your ability to show up at the right place at the right time!

Top Skills Required:

  • Strong writing and grammar
  • Staying informed
  • Punctuality and time management
  • Networking and interviewing
  • Curiosity and researching 

2. Announcer / Anchor

There’s a certain responsibility that comes with being an anchor. Yours is the face and voice associated with news, and there’s no hiding.

Watching a news anchor on TV is most people’s first memory of journalism. As an anchor, you will verbally present news to the public and conduct interviews live on air. In most cases, the text is displayed for anchors to read out verbatim. However, in some cases, they work with prompts and craft their own lines, especially during interviews or live commentary.

As an announcer, you will report news live on the field. Journalism graduates are hired by TV and radio stations for entry-level positions, and can later be promoted to anchors.

Many digital outlets have also taken to social media and YouTube to publish the latest news in video form. You can easily transfer the same skills from reporting on-air as an announcer to taking videos at home.

The key success factor in this role is delivery and presentation.

Top Skills Required:

  • Confident delivery on-air
  • Strong diction and articulation
  • Presence of mind
  • Punctuality
  • Pleasant style and appearance
  • Networking and interviewing
journalism- anchor

3. Fact-Checker

When you’re a fact-checker, your job is all about – you guessed it- facts! As a fact-checker, you’ll work in the research department of digital publications, news outlets, publishers, etc. Your job lies in finding and confirming details, especially where sources are concerned.

Fact-checkers approve the content waiting to be published and play an integral role in preventing lawsuits against the company. Credibility -literally– is in their hands. Part of their research consists of confirming events, sources, and identities mentioned in the content.

Many news outlets hire journalism majors as fact-checkers, especially if they meet the brief. If you have strong research skills, this job is surely for you!

The key success factor in this role is knowing what’s in the details.

Top Skills Required:

  • Strong research skills
  • Presence of mind
  • Detail-oriented
  • Good time management skills
  • Fair and neutral outlook

4. Editor/Copy-Editor/Desk Editor

There’s more to being an editor than proofreading content. Your job includes taking a holistic look at ideas, angles, and formats.

Almost every content-generation avenue -whether newspapers, magazines, websites, and even publishing houses- needs editors. This is normally a senior position, but due to the sheer population in the industry, you can land an editing role early into your journalism career. What matters is your writing and editing experience.

As an editor, your job involves assigning stories, reviewing ideas, and editing the work of writers and reporters. Yours is the last look before any piece of content is taken live. Over the years, industries like art, food, and fashion have become wildly popular, so there’s a lot to choose from!

The key success factor in this role is presence of mind in filtering and adding value.

 Top Skills Required:

  • Editing and proofreading
  • Giving valuable feedback
  • Filtering ideas by value
  • Maintaining content guidelines
  • Auditing
journalism- editor

5. Public Relations Officer

Though the details and intent may differ, public relations and journalism have one commonality: they provide information to the public. There are numerous opportunities for journalists to get into PR, especially when it comes to presenting comprehensive content to shape public opinion. 

Almost every large corporation has a PR officer who is either part of an agency or hired independently. As a public relations officer, you can work for agencies, multimedia organisations, and even political parties. You will be in control of the overall messaging that is relayed to the public, whether that’s through social media content, speeches, and more. Public relations officers also plan campaigns, organise publicity events, and liaison on behalf of the brand.

Journalism graduates are often hired by organisations at entry-level positions in public relations, and can work their way up! Having research-based facts helps increase traction, which is where your degree comes in.

The key success factor in this role is strategic communications.

Top Skills Required:

  • Excellent communication and networking skills
  • Presence of mind and strategic thinking
  • Great writing and presentation skills
  • Multitasking and adapting to change
  • Researching and staying updated

6. Presenter

You don’t technically need a journalism degree for this job, but having one would improve your success as a presenter.

A presenter’s life is eventful as they are constantly on the field, whether that’s in sports, travel, or lifestyle. As a sports presenter, you can interview sports personalities and round up matches, based on the broadcasting agency and type of sport.

A travel presenter gets to explore various destinations and inform the audience of the travel experiences they must have. Having the skills of a journalist, whether that’s interviewing or verbal presenting certainly inches you towards landing a great role.

With the lockdown opening up in various countries, digital and traditional platforms have begun hiring people with a journalism degree for presenter roles. However, you may have to go through an audition process to prove your forte!

The key success factor in this role is delivery and overall presentation.

 Top Skills Required:

  • Confident delivery on camera
  • Strong diction and articulation
  • Pleasant style and appearance
  • Networking and interviewing
  • Travelling and finding experiences

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7. News Director

The primary role of a news director is quality control and planning. The result of this careful planning is what viewers see on-air.

If you’re a highly organised person, you should definitely explore a job in news direction. Your day will consist of vetting the accuracy of stories, ensuring that rules and regulations are followed, and planning and scheduling content.

As a news director for a digital platform, you’ll need to create and maintain sheets with schedules, and also approve scripts sent to you. While your job description remains the same, the mediums used will change, meaning more time spent online! 

Post your degree, you can start as an assistant news director and work your way up. Another option is to begin your career in journalism on a smaller platform and later expand to larger agencies.

The key success factor in this role is organisation and time management.

Top Skills Required:

  • Organisation and scheduling
  • Assertiveness
  • Researching and staying updated
  • Quality control
  • Communication and networking

8. Photo/ Video Journalist

If your passion lies in capturing moments on film, photo or video journalism is right up your alley.

Your work lies in the visual side of reporting, and you may work alone or accompany an announcer on location. At a magazine, you can travel and capture images for features. In a broadcasting agency, the role would involve shooting and editing videos as part of news stories.

Photo and video journalism has also expanded into various industries like food and art. In some niches- like documentary filmmaking- the footage you capture speaks more than words. However, for others, honing your craft as a writer can land you lucrative gigs that require both talents.

If you’re looking at technical video journalism, a broadcasting agency is the answer. However, a magazine or digital platform will allow you to explore your creativity as a video producer.. Consider all your options while accepting offers.

The key success factor in this role is an eye for visuals, aesthetics, and worthwhile moments.

 Top Skills Required:

  • Photography and videography
  • Editing material and footage
  • Presence of mind
  • Travelling and finding special moments
  • Communication and interviewing
photo/ video journalism

9. Investigative Journalist

Are you aware of the mega-hit web series, Scam 1992? Sucheta Dalal, then a journalist at The Times of India, unearthed one of the biggest scams in the country and put businessman Harshad Mehta in the spotlight. That’s what the life of an investigative journalist looks like! 

As an investigative journalist, you’ll look into points of interest, whether crime, scams, or more. Since your work lies outside of law enforcement, public records and data will be your best friends. Your work will revolve around the hunt for accountability and justice, whether that’s in solving a case or revealing the truth about injustices.

Many news outlets have a department that focuses on investigative journalism, while some organisations solely practice it. You can also set up your own platform or work by yourself. Since the results of your work are eye-catching, traction is sure to come your way over time.

The key success factor in this role is accuracy and curiosity.

Top Skills Required:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent communication and networking skills
  • Curiosity
  • Researching and investigation skills
  • Great interviewing skills

Being a journalist is hard work, but keep at it. Digital platforms have gained popularity points over time, due to lack of censorship and an increase in opportunities and scope. Working for yourself is easier now more than ever, so make sure to explore all your options. You can choose to work full-time to get that newsroom experience, or pitch ideas as a freelancer to build your portfolio and credibility as a journalist. If you hold a journalism degree, there are myriad opportunities available for you – so many more than you think!

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.

Last Updated 13th Aug 21