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"Journalist" is a general title describing a broad category of jobs where you report on news for broadcast, print or online media. A journalist may write stories for a newspaper or website, or provide on-camera television reports. A bachelor's degree in journalism or communication is often required. Despite long hours and moderate pay, journalism careers do offer several important advantages.
Experience Field-Based Excitement
A journalist is often out in the field chasing news and following up on tips and leads. For someone who does not want to be tied to a desk all day, the excitement of traveling around and hunting for news is a great fit. Though journalists often start in local news positions, career advancement may lead to opportunities to travel nationally and even internationally to cover major news stories for large media companies. Seeing the news they cover presented to readers or TV viewers gives journalists a huge sense of accomplishment.
Meet Interesting People
Journalists get a chance to interview interesting people in the course of preparing news stories. Newspaper and web reporters conduct background research -- including interviewing people who are relevant to the story -- as part of the reporting process. Broadcast journalists get to perform live on-air interviews with guests. In this role you get a chance to meet and chat with a wide range of local business, government and community leaders. As you grow in your career, you may get the chance to interview famous athletes, musicians, politicians and other celebrities. Reporters can also derive personal pleasure from presenting compelling profiles of the subjects they interview.
Feed Your Curiosity
In an April 2012 article, "Forbes" journalist Jeff Bercovici noted that journalists essentially get paid to read a lot and to learn. Your primary role is to learn about new and interesting people and events, and then convert what you know into a compelling story for the audience. A reporter is similar to a detective in the way she investigates leads, fields calls with tips and forms theories. The difference is the journalist turns the investigation into news rather than a court case.
Opportunity for Fast Advancement
The journalism profession is very competitive and the demand for jobs often exceeds what employers have available. However, skilled writers and reporters who show their talents in local markets can quickly gain exposure and advancement opportunities. A journalist's work is directly in the public eye. Your name is attached to the stories you report on. Executives at large media companies want journalists who can break stories and bring in readers and viewers. If you build a reputation for breaking important news stories, or for getting exclusive interviews with important people, your stock rises quickly and so do your job opportunities.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Reporter, Correspondent, or Broadcast News Analyst
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts: Work Environment
- Forbes: Forget That Survey. Here's Why Journalism Is The Best Job Ever.
- Society of Professional Journalists: Becoming a Journalist