Find out about the routes into the popular fields of journalism and writing.
Careers advice (journalism)
- Creative Careers – insights from journalism speakers who’ve attended Careers Services sessions
- TARGETjobs: Media, journalism and publishing
- Guardian Careers - see journalism and media careers sections for regular features
Careers advice (writing)
- BBC Writersroom - champions new talent in film, television, radio and theatre and includes tips, opportunities and a blog
- BookCareers.com - includes advice on Getting Published and Getting Published as a Children's Writer
- Becoming a Medical Writer in Medical Communications
- Guardian Careers – Screenwriters share their top tips for career success (2015)
- The Muse - How to break into Screenwriting
- Balance Careers - screenwriting as a career
- Downloadable careers guides including The ten steps to become a professional screenwriter
Useful blogs include:
- Danny Stack: Scriptwriting in the UK - blog and careers resources from an experienced UK screenwriter
- James Moran: 'The pen is mightier than the spork' blog - see The Big Writing FAQ for tips on getting started in screenwriting
- Kate Ravilious - blog from an award-winning scientific journalist. See I want to be a science writer for advice.
These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.
They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them and sector skills bodies on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) delivers training for the UK newspaper industry.
Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) delivers training for TV and radio.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) provides support for industry professionals and students.
- Creative Skillset - UK Sector Skills Council (SSC) for journalists and writers
- Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) - UK trade association for magazine publishing that includes a careers section
- International Journalists' Network (IJNet) - includes articles, job and internship opportunities, courses and scholarships
- Sports Journalism Association - links to courses and articles on getting into sports journalism
- The Newspaper Society - for regional and local media
- New Writing North - writing development agency for the North East of England
- The Writers' Guild of Great Britain
- Arts Council England - national development agency for the arts, including literature
- The Society of Authors
- British Council - includes a literature section
Scattered Authors' Society is a group of writers for children and teenagers. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators supports both published and unpublished writers.
Northern Film & Media is the regional film and television agency for the North East of England.
Arts criticism is covered by the Critics' Circle - professional association of British critics of dance, drama, film, music, visual arts and architecture.
Science and medicine
- Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC)
- European Medical Writers Association
- Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) - includes science journalists
Talking to people in the sector can give you an insight into the roles found in journalism and writing. It can be useful for networking and making speculative applications.
You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you information and advice about the kind of work they do
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, can also be useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our Journalism Twitter list.
Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and the opportunity to make useful contacts.
Regular events for this sector include Newcastle University Creative Careers.
Reference books available in the Careers Service
- Getting into films & television, Robert Angell
- How to get a job in television
- Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2010
- The essential guide to careers in journalism
- Benn’s Media
- How to get your first job in television, Sha Richmond
Or see our other Sector-specific pages for more options.
Roles & Skills
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.
For information on undertaking a postgraduate or vocational training course, see Study & Training.
- Careers Service: Working in broadcast journalism - highlights from Creative Careers Week 2013 (PDF: 263KB)
Skills employers look for
Employers look for skills including:
- the ability to write quickly, clearly, succinctly and passionately, with excellent grammar and spelling
- commitment, perseverance and a thick skin (be comfortable asking strangers uncomfortable questions)
- curiosity: a lively and enquiring mind
- the ability to strike up a rapport with all kinds of people
- Teeline shorthand at 100 words per minute or more and a knowledge of media law
- multimedia skills, as these are increasingly essential (video and blogging skills, writing for search optimisation and multi platforms)
Work experience in this sector can be highly competitive and often unpaid.
Some recruiters advertise opportunities, but you may need to contact others with a speculative approach.
Try not be disheartened by rejections. It can take a lot of persistence to achieve work experience in this field.
If you are considering working on an unpaid basis, then you may have questions about your employment or payment rights - see our page on unpaid work experience. The Careers Service provides some funding to help with low or unpaid experience – see Career Insights Bursary for more information.
Top tips for applying for work experience
- know and love the medium you want to work in
- whoever you apply for, make sure you're familiar with their content and show enthusiasm for it
- do your homework and find out staff names, roles and everything you can about the company
- call them to find out who's in charge of work experience and address your recipient by name
- write a brief email, introducing yourself, explaining what you're looking for and your skills
- tailor each email to the specific publication
Finding work experience
- News Associates - run regular free half-day journalism workshops in London and Manchester
- Press Association: Student masterclasses - workshops in London and Newcastle
- Gorkana Jobs - internships and work experience related to journalism
- Sports Journalists' Association - links to sources of opportunities, mainly unpaid
- Media.info - lists jobs and internships, including journalism opportunities
- Trill! Magazine - an online magazine aimed at young people aged 18-30, regularly looking for contributors
- SELLL Blog - regularly posts writing opportunities for current students or recent graduates
- BBC - two-week placements, including opportunities in news and journalism. Also offer a trainee sports reporter scheme for 8 weeks in the summer.
- BBC Extend - placement scheme for disabled people
- ITN - search for work experience opportunities
- Careers Service: Internships, placements & shadowing - lists sources of opportunities. The Careers Service also runs term-time and summer internships, which have included journalism opportunities in the past. You can search for these on Vacancies Online
- Thomson Reuters Journalism Internships
- Bloomberg Internships – opportunities in news
- Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation - internships at The Economist and Financial Times
- Journograds - internships in the UK and abroad.
- Journo Resources lists some internships and trainee schemes
- IJNet: Opportunities - advertises internships and scholarship opportunities
- Twitter can be a useful source of internships - see our Journalism Twitter list.
For further advice on finding work experience, see TARGETjobs: work experience: local or national newspapers.
Other ways to gain experience
While at university, take the opportunity to get involved in student media.
- The Courier Online - Newcastle University's student newspaper on the web
- Newcastle Student Radio (NSR)
- Student Radio Association
- JesmondLocal - 'hyperlocal' news service with opportunities for Newcastle University students to get involved
Hospital and community radio is good for volunteer vacancies and building up broadcasting experience.
Community Media Association has a list of UK community radio stations.
Consider creating your own blog or website to showcase your work. Sign up to Twitter and contribute to websites or forums which allow users to submit reviews or comments.
Cuckoo Review is an arts review site for young journalists (aged 15-23) in the North East. You can sign up to review and preview books, music, screen, stage and exhibitions. They supply all tickets, books and music.
Competitions can be a great way to get feedback on your work, showcase your skills, make contacts and, of course, win prizes.
Scholarships, awards and competitions
Scholarships and awards
- Journalism Diversity Fund
- George Viner Memorial Fund - bursary-awarding fund to help Black and Asian students through training
- Scott Trust Foundation - offers annual bursaries for postgraduate study in newspaper, web or broadcast journalism
- Alistair Cooke Award in Journalism - annual award to support Master's study in journalism at a US university
- Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation - annual awards to help fund Master's courses relating to financial journalism
- BGAJ John Deere Agricultural Journalism Training Award - annual award for those with an interest in horticulture and agriculture
- Guardian Student Media Awards - cash prizes and work experience opportunities for the best student journalists
- Guardian International Development Journalism Competition - opportunities to get published
- NUSU Student Achievement Awards: Media Awards - get recognition for your extra-curricular achievements
- Northern Writers' Awards - annual competition, offering cash prizes, mentoring and support to talented writers based in the North of England. Opens in November and closes in February.
- The Poetry Society - comprehensive list of competitions and prizes
- The Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize
- The David Welch Student Sportswriter of the Year Award - open to full-time students aged 16-25
- Hiive - look out for competitions related to journalism and writing
- BAFTA New Writing Competition
There are a few graduate training schemes available in journalism - competition for these is fierce.
For a full list of journalism graduate and trainee schemes, see Journo Resources.
Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.
- Media UK - includes searchable directories for the British media industry
- Journalism.co.uk - regularly listed editorial and media jobs
- Gorkana Jobs: Journalist jobs
- BBC Vacancies - range of permanent, temporary and traineeship roles.
- BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme
- Applying for the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme
- Newspaper Society - includes a comprehensive database of British local newspaper titles and links to their websites
- Jobs4Journalists - job and internships in journalism and communications
- HTFP: Jobs - includes trainee and junior reporter roles and magazine writers
The National Association of Press Agencies (NAPA) gives details of press agencies for those who are interested in working for themselves in the UK. Includes a member directory, useful for speculative applications.
The Association of British Science Writers: Jobs advertises science-specific journalism roles.
Writers are almost exclusively self-employed. Most publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscripts, so consider employing an agent.
- The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook (reference copy available in the Careers Service) lists literary agents
- BBC Writersroom: Opportunities
- WriteThisMoment.com - paid writing opportunities but subscription required to access these
- New Scientist Jobs - useful for freelance technical writers
- How to become a freelance writer (April 2014)
- Journalism.co.uk: How to get started as a freelance journalist
- The Writers' Guild of Great Britain provide information on agreements, rates and guidelines and offer a free contract vetting
- NUJ Freelance Directory - directory of more than 1,500 professional journalists
For more information and advice on self-employment, visit Work for Yourself.
Study & Training
Employers in journalism are most interested in real experience and relevant practical skills.
Entry with a postgraduate journalism degree can improve your chances. This is especially true if it is NCTJ-accredited or includes relevant work experience.
Courses can also provide valuable training in media law, ethics and shorthand. For newspaper journalism, pre-entry routes include one-year full-time postgraduate courses. These lead to a postgraduate diploma or Masters degree.
There are also fast-track, 18 to 20-week postgraduate courses. These are intensive, practical courses usually leading to the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.
It's worth researching potential employers to find out which qualifications they prefer.
Postgraduate entry is the most common route to a career in broadcast journalism. The BJTC and NCTJ accredit postgraduate courses that offer both theoretical and practical training.
- NCTJ - includes a list of accredited courses and general careers advice
- BJTC - advice on careers in broadcast journalism and a list of accredited courses
- Press Association: Become a journalist - courses in news, sports and magazine journalism, in London and Newcastle
- Periodicals Training Council (PTC) - includes list of accredited courses in magazine journalism and publishing
- Guardian Graduate: How my journalism postgraduate course enhanced my career (Sept 2012)
For information on postgraduate courses and funding, see Further Study.