A bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, or a related field is typically required to become a newspaper journalist. With an anticipated job decline of 11% expected from 2019-2029, applicants will face stiff competition for job openings. Work experience will also be an asset to those seeking to enter this career field and is preferred by many employers.
The newspaper journalism industry requires individuals with a unique skill set who can work in an environment of meeting tight deadlines and expectations. Educational programs for prospective newspaper journalists vary, but many candidates hold a bachelor's degree in journalism or a similar field. Experience through internships or previous related work is also typically required by employers.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in journalism, communications or similar field|
|Other Requirements||Completion of internship or previous work experience often necessary; candidates should also have excellent writing and research skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)*||-11% for all reporters and correspondents|
|Average Salary (2020)*||$53,410 for reporters and correspondents working for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The industry is highly competitive. Prospective newspaper journalists typically need an educational program with a solid curriculum that requires work experience to help them land a job.
Newspaper Journalists Job Description
Newspaper journalists may also be referred to as reporters or correspondents. They provide information to the general public about events, people and ideas. Newspaper journalists can work for local or national publications. These individuals must be skilled at research and fact-checking.
Educational Requirements to Become a Newspaper Journalist
Most newspaper journalists enter the field with a bachelor's degree in journalism, news writing or communications. If concentrations are offered within these programs, individuals should choose the newspaper-related concentration as opposed to magazine or general news writing. Curriculums might include courses in writing and editing techniques, reporting, newspaper writing history and journalistic ethics. Some programs require diagnostic exams in grammar and editing that students must pass to remain in the program. With the growing presence of online reporting, many schools incorporate online journalism courses into the curriculum.
Along with formal education, it's helpful for aspiring newspaper journalists to have relevant work experience. Many employers prefer to hire those who have experience with meeting deadlines and working with other journalists. Because of this, many programs require an internship or a minimum amount of published work. Some internship opportunities may be general and others may be with a specific newspaper department.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals will face strong competition for newspaper jobs, especially with publications in large cities or those that are syndicated nationally. Jobs for all reporters and correspondents (including those in TV and other forms of media) are expected to decline by 11 percent from 2019-2029. The availability of online news sources and their ability to publish stories immediately has hurt the newspaper industry. The best opportunities for entry-level newspaper journalists may be with smaller publications. Those who can write on scientific and technical subjects may also find more opportunities.
According to the BLS, the average annual income for reporters and correspondents was $66,000 as of 2020, though those working for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers earned a median of $53,410. Location was a major determinant of the salary range, but even among big cities the range can vary dramatically.
Newspaper journalists work under tight deadlines to gather relevant information about a news story and produce a written article for publication. A relevant degree and work experience will help those who are pursuing a career in newspaper journalism to compete for job openings in this field.