Journalists write and edit news reports, commentaries, feature articles and blogs for newspapers, magazines, radio, television and websites, including online publications.
To become a journalist you usually have to complete a degree in journalism or in a related field with a major in journalism, followed by a 1-year graduate cadetship involving on-the-job training. Alternatively, you can become a journalist by completing a 3-year cadetship, during which you receive instruction and gain experience in practical journalism under the supervision of senior journalists. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. A number of universities in Australia offer relevant degrees. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Journalists may perform the following tasks:
All journalists are required to understand the laws of defamation, contempt and copyright. They may have to work long and irregular hours and are often under pressure to meet deadlines. Journalists may work indoors and carry out interviews by telephone or may have to work outdoors in all kinds of weather. Travel is often required.
Most journalists work for country, metropolitan and suburban newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. They may also work for press agencies. Due to changes in the industry, it is common for journalists to work on a freelance basis. Others move into publicity roles in government departments, work as press secretaries for government ministers or work in related fields such as advertising, marketing and public relations. Technological changes have increased the speed of information exchange, leading to a more interpretative role for journalists. This has increased the demand for journalists with expertise in specialist fields such as economics and political science. Factors that influence employment range from the number, size and economic viability of media organisations to the use of modern technology and the degree of networking and resource sharing between organisations.
A columnist writes a regular segment within their particular interest category (creative arts, politics or technology, for example), often incorporating a personal view or opinion.
A feature writer writes detailed stories or presents commentaries on specific news topics.
A leader writer discusses news topics in the editorial columns of newspapers or magazines.
A news reporter reports on day-to-day news events (crime, education, health or sport, for example).
A roundsperson reports on and discusses a specialised area (politics, economics or education, for example).