How to Become a Journalist?

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How to Become a Journalist

Curious about what to study to become a Journalist? Considered as the fiercest storytellers, Journalists write and report news stories whether they are local, national or international. Working for one of the foremost pillars of democracy, i.e. media, a Journalist need to be unbiased, truthful and most importantly a fearless investigator at heart. While there is no certain path to becoming a journalist, you need to pursue a degree in journalism or its any of its specialisations to be familiarised with the essentials of journalism, reporting, writing and news media production. So, if you want to follow this amazingly adventurous career path, here is a complete guide on how to become a journalist.

Journalism as a Career

The role of journalism is ever-evolving in the present digital world as we are now updated rapidly and continuously with all the happenings around the world through mobile apps and news websites. Journalists have become a one-many army in today’s world as they not only need to learn news writing but also reporting, recording, editing and broadcasting. Journalism as a Career is a rewarding profession, both intellectually and financially, given that you are working for an established news organisation. The average salary of a Journalist in India is around 3.5 Lakhs to 6.5 Lakhs per month depending on the news organisation and the role you are working for. 

Courtesy: Agent Pekka

To become a journalist, the first step you need to take is a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and then you can further explore training and internship opportunities and also specialise in a particular field like Photojournalism, Sports Journalism, News Journalism, among others.

Study a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism

As mentioned above, a bachelor’s degree in journalism is essential to begin your career in this field with the right educational qualifications. If you don’t want to pursue an undergraduate course in Journalism, then you can also choose from a BA English or BA in English Literature or Bachelors in Mass Communication. Here are the most popular journalism courses after 12th:

  • BA in Journalism
  • Bachelor of Journalism
  • Bachelor in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • BA in Mass Media
  • BA in Convergent Journalism
  • Bachelors in Sports Journalism
  • BA (Hons) Journalism and Publishing
  • BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism
  • BA Journalism, Film and Television Studies
  • BA Journalism & Communication
  • BSc Media Communication and Journalism
  • BA (Hons) Photojournalism
  • BA (Hons) Cultural Studies and Media with Journalism

To pursue any of these journalism courses after 12th, here are the major universities in India offering these programs:

  • Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media
  • Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication
  • Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
  • Indian Institute of Mass Communication
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University
  • Xavier Institute of Communications
  • Asian College of Journalism

If you plan to study your journalism course abroad, then you need to explore the following top universities in Journalism and Mass Communication:

Since this is the first step towards actualising your dream of becoming a journalist, you must be careful with the admission criteria for bachelor’s courses in Journalism. Here are the general admission requirements for journalism courses after 12th:

  • The applicant must have attended 10+2 from any stream from a recognized board.
  • You need to qualify the entrance exams as stated by the University guidelines.
  • If you want to study any of these journalism courses abroad, then you might be required to provide SAT or ACT scores. Universities abroad also ask for an SOP and LORs as well as language proficiency scores of IELTS/TOEFL/PTE, etc.

Work on Your Writing & Reporting Skills

All journalists need to have a strong background and proficiency in the writing domain. The medium they would be choosing to work in comes secondary, but they must have a highly proficient writing background. While a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Mass Communication or English Literature will surely help you furnish your writing skills and understand how print media works, you also need to devote time on polishing your writing and reporting style. To become a successful journalist, you must make your writing coherent, concise, interactive and informative. Here the best ways to improve your writing and reporting skills:

  1. Writing daily
  2. Keeping a journal about your activities
  3. Starting your blog
  4. Staying up to date with the latest news
  5. Keep working on grammatical skills
  6. Reading on a daily basis
  7. Be on point specifically about current events
  8. Practice photography
  9. Joining a journalism-club will be great 

Must Read: Career in Broadcast Media

Explore Internships

Internships are essential as they play a significant role in gaining knowledge about journalism’s basic principles. Such learning can’t be accessed in books and will be experienced through the labour of internships and practical exposure to the industry itself. Talking about the media industry, there is indeed a requirement for in-training journalists for working alongside the professionals within numerous outlets such as newspapers, magazines, websites, radio, and television stations. Usually, these kinds of programs are affiliated with the universities and have to tie-up with the colleges to prepare themselves. 

Journalism is thoroughly based on the relationships that you build as an intern. Working as an intern helps students in building good relations with their mentors, other colleagues, and peers. Furthermore, the opportunity of working on-field helps them learn how the industry actually works and whether or not they can do it. Thus, pursuing suitable internships and training is essential to get industry exposure and avail networking opportunities!

Further Studies

While you can directly explore career opportunities after completing your bachelor’s in Journalism, many aspiring journalists also opt for a master’s degree to further gain specialisation. There are different types of Journalism such as Photojournalism, Broadcast Journalism, Travel Journalism, News Journalism, etc. which you can study with a master’s degree. Digital journalism has exploded as a central tertiary area with the passing time, resulting in blurring the overall distinction between printing and broadcasting.  Several journalists opt to work as generalists, media writing, and report as per the assigned stories. At the same time, others opt for a much-specialized domain that includes coverage. Here are the to specialisations in Journalism for master’s degree programs:

  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Business and Financial Reporting
  • Environmental Journalism
  • Feature Writing and Magazine Writing
  • Global and International Journalism
  • News Reporting
  • Online/Multimedia Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Political-Journalism
  • Science and Health Reporting
  • Sports Reporting

Finding Job Opportunities & Building a Portfolio

Journalists who are freshers in the field might face some challenges similar to other fields. The critical challenge is gaining experience and building a strong portfolio (knowledge and skills relevant to the field). Both of these help you out in settling down in the journalism domain and mark your presence. This is why internships are important for undergraduates since they can help you explore your interests and find your interests in Journalism. The importance of experience is the specific reason journalism students value pursuing internships along with their studies. To build a great portfolio, you will have to carry out independent activities, including blogging, video-casting, and podcasting. You can explore varied careers as a Journalist such as,

  • Columnists
  • News Editor
  • TV Reporter/Correspondent
  • Photojournalist
  • Sports Journalist
  • News Producer

Thus, we hope that this blog helped you build a career map on how to become a journalist. Needless to say that a formal education and training in this field is a must. Let our Leverage Edu experts guide you in finding the best course and university for kickstarting a rewarding career in Journalism! Sign up for a free session with us now!

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1 comment
  1. I liked how you mentioned that you can gain a lot of valuable knowledge with an internship. My brother is wanting to become a news reporter and he was wondering how he could learn information to help him become a professional. I’ll tell him that he should look to get an internship before becoming a news reporter.

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