Magazine journalist

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Magazine journalists research and write news articles and features for a wide variety of publications.

Salary range: £18,000 to £40,000

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How to become a magazine journalist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses from training organisations
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University

You may find it useful to have a degree in a subject like journalism or media. This will help you learn about the magazine industry and develop the skills you’ll need as a journalist.

You could also do a postgraduate course in journalism. Some of these are accredited by the Professional Publishers Association.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

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College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant qualifications include Level 3 Diploma in Journalism or Level 3 Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.

Some colleges offer the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism and courses in Shorthand, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a junior journalist.

Entry requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

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Volunteering and experience

Competition for jobs is strong, especially with the better-known magazines. You’ll find it useful to have examples of your published work in a portfolio. You’ll also need practical experience, which you could get by:

  • contacting magazines to ask for work experience
  • writing reviews of films, plays or products
  • volunteering to work on newsletters
  • writing your own blog and having an online presence

Direct application

You could apply directly for jobs, especially if you have knowledge of the specialist area the magazine covers.

You would need to build up a network of contacts as many journalist jobs are not advertised.

Other routes

You can study a range of professional qualifications in journalism, either online or part time at a training centre, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

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Professional and industry bodies

As a journalism student you can apply for student membership of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). The NUJ also has information on bursaries that may be available.

Further information

You can find out more about working in publishing from the Professional Publishers Association and the National Union of Journalists.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • 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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • going to meetings to plan the content of the magazine
  • suggesting ideas for articles
  • interviewing and researching to collect information for articles
  • writing articles to suit the magazine’s style
  • keeping up-to-date with developments and trends in the magazine’s subject area
  • working as a critic, reviewing things like films, food or concerts

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

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Career path and progression

With experience you may be able to progress to an editing position or move into another area like newspaper journalism, radio or TV.

You could go freelance and write for various publications, or become a staff writer.