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Journalist

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Summary of occupation

Journalists write and present news and current affairs stories for print media, radio, television and the Internet. They conduct research and plan stories, interview people to obtain information, and write the copy for the final story as it appears in the media. They may even present the story on radio or television. Journalists may specialise in a particular area such as sport, politics, entertainment, economics and finance, or other specific topics.

ANZSCO description: Journalists write and present news and current affairs stories for print media, radio, television and the internet.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Online Journalist, Photojournalist, Radio Journalist, Television Journalist
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A journalist needs:

  • strong written and oral communication skills
  • an interest in current affairs or a specific topic
  • good general knowledge
  • good research skills
  • to be able to work to deadlines
  • excellent organisational and time management skills.
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Working conditions

Journalists work in newsrooms or offices, as well as television studios and radio stations. They often travel to cover stories and interview people. They may spend long periods of time on the road if covering a particular event or an ongoing news story. They may also visit locations such as law courts, sporting and entertainment venues or public places to cover stories. Journalists may need to spend time outdoors regardless of weather conditions, and they may work in unpleasant situations such as war zones and crime or accident scenes. They often need to meet tight deadlines.

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Salary details

On average, journalists and other writers can expect to earn between $1 250 and $1 499 per week ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a journalist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Journalists use computers for research and writing, but may also use notepads and pens, dictaophones or portable sound and video recording devices, and may even be involved in the use of photographic and digital video equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a journalist, you usually need to study a degree with a major in journalism or a related field, followed by a one year graduate cadetship involving on the job training.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Alternatively, you can become a journalist by completing a three year cadetship, during which you receive instruction and gain experience in practical journalism under the supervision of senior journalists.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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