What Can You Expect Your Lifestyle to Look Like as a Journalist?
Journalism has been a highly sought-after career for curious people for many decades. It attracts those with a thirst for information and a desire to communicate with a wide range of people. The profession is divided into various disciplines, such as investigative journalism, sports journalism, financial journalism, and many others. If you have been considering a career in journalism but are unsure what it will change about your current day-to-day life, below, you will find some information on how this professional path affects a person’s routine, mindset, income, and overall lifestyle. Take a look at all these aspects and find out whether or not a career in journalism is right for you.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Successful Professional Journalist?
As with any job, journalism has various levels of seriousness, difficulty, and expectation. Journalists can be tasked with providing straightforward and lighthearted written content for regular readers or else work on tougher, more hard-hitting topics. Depending on the kind of journalism you hope to get into, you will need a combination of skills. Your ability to communicate clearly through the written word is essential, which includes confident and reliable use of spelling and grammar. Journalists must also be able to take the initiative with work since article ideas are often self-generated. Of course, the precise difference in required skills will depend greatly on the type of journalism that you choose to pursue.
What Types of Journalism Are There?
Speaking of the various types of journalism, it might help you to know a bit more about each of the distinct areas and what they entail. Take a look at the following examples of journalism areas and what each expects of its journalists:
- Investigative journalism is an intense and potentially dangerous form of journalism. The journalist spends a long time searching for and compiling information that is relevant to their report before editing and presenting it. This type of journalism requires you to be incredibly intuitive and determined as well as persuasive and thorough.
- News journalists research current events to present information in a coherent and effective manner. This is a fast-paced and demanding type of journalism since news changes every day.
- Review or critic journalism presents information and opinion about specific aspects of culture such as food, art or music. The essential quality a review journalist must possess is authority behind their words so that their criticisms and perspectives are valued by readers.
- Digital journalism is an emerging area where news, reviews, or other types of stories are broadcast online to a potentially huge internet audience. Digital journalists are required to be as competent and driven as traditional journalists but must also possess strong digital technology skills and an understanding of various online platforms. If this contemporary form of journalism interests you, you can visit St. Bonaventure University for more information about studying their SBU Online digital journalism masters program.
- Broadcast journalism requires you to be a skilled public speaker so that you can convey current events to a wide audience with clarity and composure. It is a career choice best suited to people with confidence and the ability to maintain an air of authority while talking and writing.
As you can see, there are many different kinds of journalism that require a variety of skills from journalists who work within these fields. Some journalists work their way across different areas depending on their personal interests and job opportunities.
How Do You Study to Become a Journalist?
There are several ways that aspiring journalists can seek to become qualified for their ideal roles. Not every journalist needs to gain a specific degree or work through a particular program in order to achieve this; however, taking formal steps is often the most direct and straightforward method of finding the job you are looking for. Certain types of degrees are more suited to landing you journalism opportunities than others, such as literature, language, or a dedicated journalism program.
What Does a Journalist’s Routine Look Like?
Since there are so many different types of journalists, there are just as many different kinds of routine. Some journalists are recruited as full-time members of staff with a newspaper, magazine or publishing company, while others seek their own freelance work. A journalist will spend a lot of their time researching their topic before writing and editing it so it can be passed on to an editor for further checks. This means that each day can look very different from the last since no two stories are the same.
How Well Are Journalists Paid?
As with the variety of journalistic career options, the salary of a journalist depends on their level, experience, and role. Some well-known and respected journalists can earn very highly compared to an average wage, whereas beginner freelance journalists will have to work their way up before expecting a large amount of money per article. In the US, the approximate average salary for a journalist is $50,000, but this can vary greatly in either direction. If you are concerned about job security and a stable income, looking for work within an established institution such as a respected newspaper or website can help you earn a consistent salary compared to more risky freelance ventures. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Advantages of Freelance Journalism
If you are excited by the prospect of taking more risks that could lead to bigger stories or more excitement, becoming a freelance journalist might be for you. Freelance journalists enjoy all the benefits of being self-employed in that they are their own boss and can work at their own pace. If this is the career that you wish to pursue, you can expect to make your own decisions about what you want to work on, who you want to work for, and what you write about.
Disadvantages of Freelance Journalism
Despite the freedom and flexibility that is afforded to those who choose a career in freelance journalism, there are also some drawbacks to this way of working. While you can choose your own hours and the subject matter of your writing, you rely upon finding your own work where the competition is high. You may not always have a consistent level of income to rely upon, which can make your lifestyle feel much less stable. There may be periods of little to no work available, which can make money tight. This is why it is important to be a self-starter and sensible with finances.
Work-Life Balance as a Journalist
Unlike other types of jobs, being a journalist doesn’t always have a regular schedule. This is because deadlines can be moved, and stories can emerge unexpectedly. You must be committed to the work in order to appreciate the varied hours rather than resent them, although you will most likely still have enough personal time to enjoy your own leisure activities and family. This also depends on who you work for and how high up in the company structure your position lies.
What is Digital Journalism and Why is it Important?
Digital journalism, as briefly mentioned earlier, is a growing form of journalism that takes advantage of the global online space. Journalists who primarily work in digital formats must not only be excellent researchers and writers but also confident using technology such as social media platforms and new software. Aside from the written communication used in a story or article, a digital journalist will also be tasked with sourcing appropriate audio or video to accompany their piece. This is because the online format allows for a more multimedia and engaging approach to journalism, reaching more people and making a greater impact.
What Lifestyle Sacrifices do Journalists Make?
It has been stated already that the lifestyle of a journalist will vary depending on the level and type of work they do. Some journalists have irregular hours due to the unpredictable nature of breaking news stories and current events, whereas other journalists have consistent articles to submit at predetermined intervals so they are aware of their workload each day. This means that some journalists have very little time to themselves and must dedicate a lot of their spare time to the job, while others can set up a routine with a reliable structure to manage their work-life balance more freely.
Should You Become a Journalist?
Journalism is a demanding yet rewarding career that has a lot to offer the right person. It can be difficult to break into the industry without any prior experience or connections but don’t let that stop you from trying. Remember that the industry is hugely diverse and different positions require different talents, so just because you find that one particular kind of journalism doesn’t suit you is not necessarily a reason to give up. If you are passionate about writing and bringing people’s attention to something important or interesting, it is worth taking a look at some possible journalist roles to suit your skill set.