A career in journalism can be a fast-paced and exciting way to stay informed, share your ideas, travel to new places and learn more about the world. If you’re considering a career in journalism, it’s helpful to review some benefits and drawbacks of the position. Learning more about the position can help you make an informed decision that considers different aspects of the role to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. In this article, we explain what journalists do and provide a list of pros and cons typical of a journalist’s position.
What does a journalist do?
A journalist gathers information, investigates newsworthy topics and presents on developing news stories. They might share their stories in print publications, online news sources, televised news programs or on radio shows. It’s important for journalists to collect information from reliable sources, because they often have to defend their arguments. The exact responsibilities of a journalist can depend on the type of journalist they are. For example, journalists who work for newspapers often write and edit stories for newspaper audiences. Some journalists orate their findings on televised programs or for online news sites.
Here are some common journalist duties:
Stay informed about current and local events
Collect information from news sources
Write copy for news stories
Network at events
Come up with new story topics
Share objective coverage of events
Review user feedback
Work with other journalists on larger stories
Pros of being a journalist
Journalism can be a rewarding career for many reasons. Here are four benefits of the position:
One pro of being a journalist is your ability to express yourself creatively. Some journalists work for magazines and online publishers who allow them to put their personalities into their stories. They can also use their creativity to come up with new story ideas and design new angles for story topics. Many journalists are talented writers, and they can use their journalism career to grow their writing and communication skills. The job offers the space to share their unique ideas, consider multiple viewpoints and raise awareness about important topics.
Another benefit of the role is how interesting it can be. The news stories journalists report on can concern public figures, current events, local developments and political news. Journalists often have special passes that allow them to access exclusive events, like concerts, exhibitions and rallies. The job can also include travel, sometimes even internationally. Going to lots of different places and meeting new people can expose journalists to unique perspectives and exciting situations.
Journalists provide an important service because they’re responsible for investigating events and reporting on them objectively. Their work helps the public stay informed and can sometimes, with investigative journalism, expose injustices or wrongdoings. Some journalists report on developing stories, offering much-anticipated coverage of closely watched or important events. The news they share can affect the safety and ethics of their communities and the opinions of those who read, watch or listen to their material.
4. Work environment
Many journalists work for papers, news stations or magazines. This allows them to work in exciting, fast-paced environments alongside other industry professionals. Many journalists share similar passions for writing stories and presenting new ideas. Working as a journalist helps you stay informed about current events and gives you access to important sources. The sources could be public figures, celebrities or political figures.
Cons of being a journalist
While there are many good things about being a journalist, the position can also come with a few potential drawbacks. Here are four to consider:
While not always the case, journalism can sometimes be a dangerous career. Some journalists visit unstable areas to collect stories or report on a developing situation. Entering these areas can sometimes expose journalists to dangerous or compromising situations. They may have to travel to unknown locations alone and report on stories as they’re happening, putting them in the center of violent or scary circumstances.
Journalism can be a competitive field, and finding the right opportunity can take patience and commitment. Many journalists spend their first few professional years working as freelance writers, copywriters, or staff writers for small publishers or local papers.
Through hard work, they can often rise in their roles and gain access to the articles that excite them. Typically, however, new journalists don’t get to choose the articles they write about. Because the competition is strong, successful journalists often need to work on developing their skills in writing, communicating, editing and interviewing so they can differentiate themselves from the competition and advance into the roles they’re most interested in.
Another potential disadvantage of working as a journalist is that the job can sometimes be demanding. Editors and supervisors sometimes place strict deadlines on pieces, requiring journalists to complete a story quickly. The travel can also keep journalists away from home for long periods of time, and sometimes journalists feel pressured to come up with new and exciting stories continuously.
A finally potential con of the position is the exposure that often accompanies it. While exposure can be a good thing for journalists wanting to boost their reputations as serious journalists, it can also make them targets for those who disagree with their ideas. If a journalist writes a controversial piece, they might receive unflattering feedback or other journalists might write criticisms about their published works. Publishing a piece means the journalists attach their name to the story, and there can be consequences if they don’t get the facts right