Career Profile: Print Journalism
The field of print journalism is an exciting and challenging career path. Journalists have been an important part of society for hundreds of years, writing in newspapers, periodicals, magazines and now, with the widespread use of the Internet, websites.
A print journalist working in 2014 has to master skills that journalists in former years didn’t have to consider. It’s a fast-paced and ever-evolving field, requiring the ability to think quickly and work under deadlines. For those who are dedicated, journalism can be a very rewarding field.
Aspiring journalists learn how to write a variety of articles, from straightforward news pieces to music, sports, fashion and culture articles. Journalists learn to be proficient in photography, newspaper and magazine layouts and stay up-to-date with computer programs. Journalists need to know how to conduct proper interviews, ethics behind good journalism, the history of journalism and current issues in the media. Nowadays, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr have been added into the journalist’s tool belt, as they have to keep up-to-date with current events at all times.
Journalists are expected to find their own story ideas, especially as the jobs move from steady positions at newspapers such as Metroland and The Toronto Star to contract positions for freelance writers. A good journalist is always on the lookout for potential stories and has a sharp eye for detail.
Reporters can find jobs doing a variety of things aside from writing. They can work at newspapers, magazines and trade publications, writing about subjects such as fashion, sports, crime, science, medicine, fitness, travel and more. Aside from reporting, other jobs in the field include editing, doing layout, drawing cartoons or copyediting. The editor and copyeditors make sure that the stories reporters submit are verified and true, as well as removing or altering sections. In addition, copyeditors have the important job of checking and correcting the grammar, style and spelling of articles. A poorly written article reflects badly on the publication.
A journalist’s wage varies depending on the size of publication, seniority, what stories they cover and whom they interview. The average starting wage is $19,000 but it can go up into the six figures for the best and most experienced reporters. Some journalists become famous for their writings and exploits. Tom Wolfe, known for his famous non-fiction New Journalism book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, was one of the first celebrity journalists. Others include the famed novelist Ernest Hemingway, music critic Lester Bangs (who was portrayed in the film Almost Famous) and Rolling Stone reporter Hunter S. Thompson, known for pioneering Gonzo journalism and writing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diaries, both of which were adapted into major Hollywood movies starring Johnny Depp.
Print journalism is an exciting, fast-paced and challenging career path that would be rewarding for those who like to do something different every day and don’t want to work in an office.