Journalists (NOC 5123)

About this job

Journalists research, investigate, interpret and communicate news and public affairs through newspapers, television, radio and other media.

See what a day in the life of this job is like—watch WorkBC’s Career Trek video about this occupation.

Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

People in this occupation:

  • may specialize in a particular area, such as in arts, business or sports reporting
  • work for radio and television networks and stations, newspapers and magazines
  • may also work on a freelance basis
  • should have excellent written language and communication skills
  • should have good computer skills
  • must be able to take in a wide variety of information quickly and accurately
  • must be able to work within tight deadlines
Common job titles
  • anchor, news - television
  • chronicler, online chronicler
  • columnist, news
  • multimedia information trader
  • netsurfer
  • reporter, business news
  • anchor, news - television
  • chronicler, online chronicler
  • columnist, news
  • commentator - radio / television / print
  • correspondent, news
  • critic / reviewer

Duties

Journalists:

  • collect local, national and international news through interviews, investigation and observation
  • write news stories for publication and broadcast
  • receive, analyze and verify news and other copy for accuracy
  • arrange and do interviews as part of research and for radio and television programs
  • research and report on developments in specialized fields such as medicine, science and technology
  • prepare regular feature columns and stories on specialized topics
  • write editorials and commentaries on topics of current interest to stimulate public awareness and express the views of a publication or broadcasting station
  • write critical reviews of literary, musical and other artistic works based on knowledge, judgment and experience

Special duties

Journalists may specialize in print, broadcast or webcast media. They may also specialize in particular issues such as political affairs or entertainment news or they may specialize in a particular geographic area.

Work environment

Journalists work approximately 35–40 hours per week. However, longer hours may be required due to deadlines or other factors. The pace of work is also typically fast in order to meet deadlines. Unpaid overtime and evening and weekend work may be necessary in some positions, but less so in unionized organizations.

Journalists typically work in an office environment for a portion of their work. They also often work at various locations, covering events, gathering news or doing interviews.

Some journalists, such as foreign correspondents covering wartime activities, may have to work in dangerous situations.

Insights from industry

Job openings over the next few years will come from the creation of new jobs and replacing retiring workers.

Technology has impacted this occupation in a number of ways. Journalists familiar with new technologies and with good computer skills will have an advantage over others seeking work in this field. Written material is now easily transferred between writers and publishers via email and the internet, so journalists may have to use web access and laptops for remote filing of stories. Journalists may also now play a greater role in offline editing. These technological changes may create a trend towards part-time work and self-employment.

In the last several years, there has been a slow decline in newspaper readership and an increased interest in internet news sites. As a result, prospects for broadcast journalists are improving, and journalists increasingly require knowledge of the internet and related technology.

Due to downsizing, television stations tend to need fewer people, so it is an asset for a journalist to be able to operate a video camera and supply the visuals for their own story. Journalists who can write about scientific or technical subjects will have an advantage in the labour market.

Some journalism graduates seek work in closely related fields such as advertising and public relations. These jobs are appropriate for journalists who are creative, have media relations knowledge and can work as part of a team.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Recent graduates both in print and broadcast media typically find work in smaller businesses (i.e., daily or weekly newspapers and smaller radio and television stations).

Entry-level positions at larger firms may include general reporters or junior reporters who specialize in a particular area. Graduates who get internships may be offered entry-level employment.

Experienced reporters may advance to editorial positions (print media), columnists or become producers (broadcast media) or be hired in management positions.

Additional resources