How to become a journalist

Students studying multimedia journalism at Lynn University.

If you have a passion for writing and letting the truth be heard, consider becoming a journalist. Journalists investigate and report on current events, issues and trends. They create articles by attending live functions and conducting research with thorough data collection from valid sources. They can write for print, broadcast or online media. Apart from strong written communication skills, a journalist needs excellent verbal expression with strong interpersonal and investigative skills to carry out successful interviews.

Four steps for becoming a journalist

1. Prepare in high school

If you’re serious about becoming a journalist, start preparing early. Choose courses that will develop your writing skills, including classes in English, language arts, humanities and social studies. Also, write for your school newspaper, yearbook or literary magazine to hone your writing skills. Volunteering for a local or school media station can polish your broadcasting skills. All these activities will make you a well-rounded applicant when applying for a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

2. Enroll in a bachelor's degree in journalism

A Bachelor of Arts in journalism gives you the skills necessary to hit the asphalt and find the best stories in your future career. You will learn about ethical communication, how to conduct personal interviews, research methods and how to write for different types of media. Some programs may be divided into specific areas such as broadcast, photojournalism or public relations.

3. Pursue an internship

Journalism internships allow you to receive college credit while gaining real-world journalism experience. They help you build your portfolio and make contacts that can help you get a job. Many schools with journalism programs maintain strong relationships with local media outlets to help their students receive internships. Another popular option is to write for your college newspaper. 

4. Find employment

The chances of finding employment depend on the area you want to work in. The U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the majority of the journalists work for newspapers and magazines. Other journalists work for TV and radio stations. Presently, the best opportunities for journalists are in online magazines and newspapers.

Journalist salaries

Journalist salaries depend on your degree and experience, location, type of employer and type of job. In the United States, journalism salaries range from $29,000-$80,000. The average base salary is $45,925. In Florida, the average journalist salary is $36,164 a year.

Get started at Lynn

A bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lynn launches your career. As a multimedia journalism major, you will receive an education in topics such as internet media, photojournalism and video editing. You will also learn best practices in investigation and reporting. 

Want to learn about similar majors? Check out our public relations major and master's in communication.