How to become a journalist: Sirin's story

The digital era has changed journalism radically.

Thanks to the internet and smart phones, online publications can now reach a much broader audience than old-school newspapers.

Writer and associate editor Sirin Kale works for - a global digital magazine and broadcaster aimed at young people. Sirin also freelances for other publications, including the Guardian, Observer Magazine and Time Out.

In this short film, Sirin talks about how she got her break in journalism and gives some advice to aspiring writers.

Scroll down for more information on skills, working hours and salary.

Sirin talks about how she made her break in journalism and gives advice to aspiring writers.

What skills do I need to be a journalist?

This is quite a hard question to answer because there are several different types of journalist. For example, working on an online sports desk is very different from being a news video journalist or a court reporter. However, there are some fundamental skills that you will certainly need, whatever your specialism:

  • strong research and fact-checking skills
  • data analysis skills
  • excellent verbal and written communication
  • the ability to listen
  • digital skills.

What to expect if you want to be a journalist

What will I get paid? This depends on a variety of factors such as experience and whether you're a staff journalist or freelancer. A starting salary is normally around £15,000 but an experienced journalist can earn between £20,000 and £50,000

Where will I work? Normally you will work in a newsroom, office or studio. You might also need to travel.

What are the working hours like? If you work in a newsroom, you will probably be part of a rota and have to cover evenings and weekends. Working hours can be long and unpredictable, and will depend on breaking stories and deadlines.

What qualifications do you need to be a journalist?

What qualifications do I need? A degree in Journalism or English could be a great starting point, but you could also specialise in another subject and do a postgraduate course. Some journalists learn on the job, so experience can also be very valuable.

Find out more on the Prospects website about the role of a magazine journalist.

Wondering about more careers in the media industry? You might also like:

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