Newspaper Journalist

Job Description:

Newspaper journalists research and write stories or articles for local, regional, and national newspapers.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

You could be reporting on council meetings and school fêtes for a local paper, or on general elections and world events for the national press.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • investigating a story as soon as it breaks
  • following up potential leads and developing new contacts
  • interviewing people face-to-face and over the phone
  • attending press conferences
  • recording meetings and interviews using recording equipment or shorthand
  • coming up with ideas for stories and features
  • writing up articles in a style that will appeal to the reader
  • sub-editing other reporters’ articles for publication
  • writing up articles for online publication


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent written communication skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • adaptablility skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Newspaper Journalist, there are no specific subject requirements, but it’s essential to have a strong foundation in key subjects that can help you develop the necessary skills for this career. Here are some subjects and skills to consider:

  1. English Language: This is arguably the most important subject for aspiring journalists. A strong command of the English language, including grammar, punctuation, and writing skills, is crucial for effective communication through writing.
  2. Media Studies: If available at your school, GCSEs or equivalent qualifications in Media Studies can provide you with valuable insights into the media industry, journalism ethics, and media production techniques.
  3. Mathematics: While not directly related to journalism, basic math skills can be helpful, especially when dealing with data, statistics, and budgets as a journalist.
  4. History and Politics: These subjects can provide you with a deeper understanding of current events, politics, and historical contexts, which are essential for effective reporting.
  5. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with computer software, digital media tools, and online publishing platforms is increasingly important in modern journalism.

Post School

You could start as a trainee on a local or regional newspaper. Opportunities are rare and you’ll need to show you’ve writing experience.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You could also get into this career through a degree in journalism or English, or a postgraduate journalism qualification.

In the UK, you could also take a journalism qualification like those offered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Working Hours and Environment:

You may work long, irregular hours including evenings, weekends and public holidays.

You’ll usually work in an open-plan office. You’ll also spend time out of the office, following up stories. If you work for the national or international press you could travel abroad.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a chief reporter or a specialist writer, covering areas like politics, business or particular regions of the country. You could move to a national newspaper or work as a critic.

You could move into other areas such as magazine, broadcast or online journalism. Or you could work in a press office or public relations.