Journalist Job Description

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What is a Journalist?

A journalist is a professional who gathers, investigates, writes, and reports news stories. They play a crucial role in providing accurate and relevant information to the public. Journalists can work in various industries such as:

  1. Print media: Journalists may work for newspapers, magazines, or other print publications. They research, write, and edit articles, features, and news reports for print distribution.

  2. Broadcast media: Journalists can work in television or radio stations, where they gather news, conduct interviews, and present stories through news bulletins, documentaries, or talk shows.

  3. Digital media: With the rise of online platforms and websites, journalists can work for digital news outlets or online publications. They often create engaging content, including articles, videos, podcasts, and interactive media.

  4. News agencies: Journalists can be employed by news agencies that gather news and sell it to various media organizations. These agencies provide news content to newspapers, TV stations, radio networks, and online platforms.

  5. Freelancing: Some journalists work as freelancers, taking assignments from different publications or organizations on a project basis. They may contribute to multiple outlets across various industries, covering a wide range of topics.

It's important to note that journalists can specialize in specific areas, such as investigative journalism, sports journalism, political journalism, business journalism, entertainment journalism, and more.

What does Journalist do?

A journalist typically performs a range of tasks on a day-to-day basis, which can vary depending on the type of journalism they engage in, such as investigative journalism, broadcast journalism, or news reporting. Here are some common activities:

  1. Researching: Journalists spend a considerable amount of time researching and gathering information on various topics, events, or stories.

  2. Conducting interviews: They arrange and conduct interviews with sources, experts, or eyewitnesses to gather firsthand information and quotes.

  3. Writing articles: Journalists write articles, news reports, features, or opinion pieces based on the information they gather. This involves writing, editing, and proofreading.

  4. Fact-checking: Ensuring accuracy and fact-checking information is an essential part of a journalist's work. Verifying sources and cross-checking information helps maintain credibility.

  5. Attending events/press conferences: Journalists often attend events, press conferences, or briefings to gather information and ask questions directly to relevant individuals.

  6. Pitching stories: Journalists may need to pitch story ideas or proposals to their editors or newsrooms to get approval for future coverage.

  7. Collaborating with teams: Journalists often work closely with editors, photographers, videographers, and other team members to create multimedia content or articles.

  8. Networking: Building and maintaining contacts within the industry, including sources, experts, and fellow journalists, is essential for journalists to stay updated and pursue stories.

  9. Monitoring news/developments: Journalists constantly stay informed about current events, breaking news, and ongoing developments to find potential story angles or follow up on existing stories.

  10. Working against deadlines: Meeting deadlines is crucial in journalism. Journalists must manage their time efficiently to ensure timely and accurate reporting.

It's important to note that the tasks performed by journalists can vary depending on the type of media organization they work for and the specific demands of their role.

What skills are needed to be a Journalist?

Here are the essential skills required for a journalist:

  1. Excellent written and verbal communication: Journalists need strong communication skills to effectively convey information and tell stories through writing and interviews.
  2. Research and investigative skills: The ability to conduct thorough research and investigate stories is vital for journalists to gather accurate information and provide a comprehensive report.
  3. Critical thinking and objectivity: Journalists should be able to analyze and evaluate information critically, as well as maintain objectivity when reporting news.
  4. Organizational and time management: Journalists often work on tight deadlines, so being able to prioritize tasks, manage time efficiently, and meet deadlines is crucial.
  5. Interviewing and interpersonal skills: Journalists must have the ability to ask probing questions, listen attentively, and build rapport with interviewees to obtain relevant and insightful information.
  6. Adaptability and flexibility: The journalism industry can be unpredictable, so being open to change, adaptable to different situations, and able to work under pressure is necessary.
  7. Digital literacy: With technology constantly evolving, journalists need digital literacy skills to navigate various online platforms, conduct online research, and effectively use digital tools for reporting.
  8. Ethical and legal knowledge: Journalists must have a strong understanding of media ethics and the legal framework surrounding journalism to ensure accurate and responsible reporting.
  9. Multimedia skills: In today's multimedia-driven world, having skills in photography, video editing, and graphic design can enhance a journalist's storytelling abilities and expand their range of content creation.
  10. Curiosity and passion for news: A genuine curiosity about current events, along with a passion for informing the public, is essential for journalists to stay motivated and engaged in their work.

These skills collectively contribute to a journalist's ability to gather, analyze, and present news in an accurate, engaging, and ethical manner.


Journalist duties and responsibilities

Top Duties of a Journalist:

  1. Researching and investigating: Journalists are responsible for gathering information on various topics by conducting thorough research and investigative work. This involves reviewing documents, conducting interviews, and analyzing data to ensure accurate reporting.

  2. Writing and reporting: Journalists are skilled in writing news articles, reports, and features for various media platforms. They must be able to convey information effectively, using a clear and engaging writing style that is suitable for their target audience.

  3. Interviewing and sourcing: Journalists conduct interviews with individuals involved in news stories, such as experts, witnesses, and key stakeholders. They must be adept at asking relevant questions and obtaining trustworthy sources to support their reporting.

  4. Fact-checking and verification: Journalists play a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and credibility of information. They are responsible for fact-checking their sources, verifying data and statements, and cross-referencing information to maintain journalistic integrity.

  5. Adhering to ethical standards: Journalists must follow ethical guidelines and professional standards, such as the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics. This includes being impartial, avoiding conflicts of interest, protecting sources, and respecting privacy rights.

  6. Multimedia skills: In today's digital age, journalists often need to possess multimedia skills. This may involve taking photographs, shooting videos, editing audio, or creating visual content to accompany their stories.

  7. Adapting to new technologies: Journalists need to stay updated with new technology trends and adapt their skills accordingly. This includes using social media, data visualization tools, content management systems, and other digital platforms to effectively disseminate information.

Qualifications required to be Journalist

The qualifications required for a journalist may vary depending on the specific job or employer, but here are some common qualifications:

  1. Education: A bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, or a related field is often preferred by employers.

  2. Writing and Communication Skills: Strong writing, editing, and communication skills are essential for journalists. This includes the ability to write clearly, concisely, and accurately, as well as effectively interview sources.

  3. Research Skills: Journalists must be able to gather information from various sources, including conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and analyzing data.

  4. Knowledge of Journalism Ethics and Standards: Journalists should have a good understanding of ethical principles and standards in journalism, such as objectivity, fairness, and accuracy.

  5. Digital Skills: In today's digital age, journalists must be familiar with digital tools and technology, including social media, content management systems, data visualization, and multimedia storytelling.

  6. News Judgment and Storytelling: Journalists should have a keen news sense and the ability to identify newsworthy stories. They should also be skilled in storytelling techniques to engage and inform their audience.

  7. Deadline-driven and Ability to Work Under Pressure: Journalists often work under tight deadlines and must be able to work efficiently and effectively, even in high-pressure situations.

  8. Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The field of journalism is constantly evolving, so journalists should be adaptable, open to learning new skills, and willing to keep up with changes in the industry.

It's worth noting that while having these qualifications is important, practical experience through internships, freelance work, or campus publications can also greatly enhance a journalist's prospects in the field.

Journalist Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for an enthusiastic Journalist to contribute in the publication of timely and accurate news. The successful candidate will be a skilled writer with a passion for the job capable of both informing and entertaining our readers.


  • Conduct research to uncover interesting and significant news
  • Gather, corroborate and interpret data
  • Interview key persons (witnesses, sources etc.) to obtain more information
  • Use findings to construct a well-written article
  • Retain awareness of the readers’ point of view
  • Obtain first-hand information by being present in happenings
  • Receive assignments or investigate news leads/tips
  • Comply with the moral code of the profession
  • Maintain notes and audio recordings
  • Partner with other journalists, editors, producers etc
  • Establish contacts and sources for use in future research
  • Keep abreast on developments by studying papers, attending events etc.


  • Proven working experience as a Journalist or Reporter
  • Portfolio of published articles or newscasts
  • Ability to follow strict deadlines and fast-check information
  • Current knowledge of headlines
  • Computer proficiency (MS Office, digital editing, web search, databases)
  • Excellent communication and networking skills along with an aptitude in extracting information
  • Good observation and deduction skills
  • Integrity and morality
  • BSc degree in journalism or relevant field

What are some qualities of a good Journalist?

A good journalist possesses several key qualities that enable them to excel in their profession. Firstly, they must have a strong sense of ethics and integrity. Journalists must strive to present facts accurately and fairly, and be committed to holding those in power to account. Secondly, they should possess excellent communication skills. This involves not only being able to write well, but also being a good listener and interviewer, and having the ability to adapt their writing style to suit different mediums and audiences. A good journalist is also curious and possesses a strong sense of curiosity. They must have the drive to dig deeper, ask critical questions, and uncover the truth. Additionally, being professional and objective are vital qualities for a journalist. They must separate their personal biases from their work and present information in a balanced and neutral manner. Finally, persistence and the ability to work well under pressure are important qualities, as journalists often face tight deadlines and challenging situations. Overall, a good journalist combines ethical integrity, strong communication skills, curiosity, objectivity, and professionalism to deliver accurate and impactful news to the public.

What are the salary expectations of Journalist?

The salary expectations for journalists can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the location, level of experience, type of media outlet (print, online, broadcast), and the size and prominence of the organization. Generally, entry-level journalists can expect to earn an annual salary ranging from $30,000 to $40,000. With several years of experience and a strong portfolio, salaries can increase to the range of $40,000 to $60,000. However, journalists at bigger and more prestigious organizations or with specialized beats can earn salaries above this range. Additionally, some journalists, particularly those with extensive experience, may earn six-figure salaries.

Who does Journalist report to?

Journalists typically report to editors or senior members of their organization. They work closely with other journalists, researchers, photographers, videographers, and other professionals within their newsroom or media organization. Additionally, journalists often interact with sources, interviewees, and members of the public to gather information and perspectives for their reporting.

Last Updated 30 Sep, 2023

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