Employers generally prefer workers who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications and have experience from an internship or from working on a college newspaper.
Most employers prefer workers who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. However, some employers hire applicants who have a degree in a related subject, such as English or political science, if they have relevant work experience.
Bachelor’s degree programs in journalism and communications include classes in journalistic ethics and how to research stories and conduct interviews. Many programs require students to take liberal arts classes, such as English, history, economics, and political science, so that they are prepared to cover stories on a wide range of subjects.
Some schools offer graduate programs in journalism and communications. These programs prepare students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field to become journalists.
Employers generally require workers to have experience from internships or from working on school newspapers. While attending college, many students seek multiple internships with different news organizations.
With experience, reporters and correspondents can advance from news organizations in small cities or towns to news organizations in large cities. Alternatively, they may become editors or news directors.
Communication skills. Journalists need to be able to report the news both verbally and in writing. Strong writing skills are particularly important for journalists in all kinds of media.
Objectivity. Journalists need to report the facts of the news impartially and without inserting their opinion or bias into the story.
People skills. To develop contacts and conduct interviews, reporters need to build good relationships with many people. They also need to work well with other journalists, editors, and news directors.
Persistence. Sometimes, getting the facts of a story is difficult, particularly when those involved refuse to be interviewed or provide comment. Journalists need to be persistent in their pursuit of the story.
Stamina. The work of journalists is often fast paced, and the hours can be long and exhausting. Reporters need to be able to keep up with the long hours.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition