Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Journalism & Media Career

Journalism and media is a competitive industry to enter, so you need to be 100% sure about your decision before you start your career. Choosing a career path is not just about the money –it’s also about whether it’s a good fit based on your skills, interests, and personal and professional goals.

Media Person Working

To help you with your decision-making, we’ve compiled a list of five questions that you need to ask before you start your career in the journalism and media industry:

1. Do I need to be a graduate to enter this field?

No, you don’t have to be a graduate to enter – or succeed in – this field. However, the majority of professionals in this industry have a degree (or other relevant tertiary qualification), whether it is in Journalism, Communication, English, Social Science, Arts, Media, History, or Humanities.

2. What kind of personalities flourish in the journalism and media industry?

This is an important question to ask, because most senior journalists and recruitment agents will tell you that it requires a certain type of personality to be successful in this cut-throat industry. While this is not always entirely accurate, it is worth keeping in mind that the following personality traits and characteristics will count in your favour if you want to make it as a journalist:

  • Curiosity
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail
  • High level of energy
  • Creativity
  • Initiative
  • Independence (along with the ability to work in a team)
  • Confidence (but not arrogance)
  • Willingness to learn

3. What’s the typical career path for this position?

You need to know what you are working towards. If you are interested in climbing the career ladder quickly, then it is best that you know that journalism and media is a tough industry in that regard. You will be facing fierce competition, and if you want to go from being a journalist to an editor, you need to be willing to put in many years of hard work.

That being said, there is still scope for career growth, and you could work your way up from an internship or junior position to the role of a more senior journalist fairly quickly if you have the right skills and characteristics.

Typewriter

Since the journalism and media industry is so diverse, you also have the option of exploring different roles, such as: field reporter, news anchor, scriptwriter, travel journalist, photojournalist, or media relations co-ordinator.

4. What personal or professional development opportunities exist?

This a good question to ask before starting any job. It applies less to the field itself, and more to the employer that you intend to work for once you complete your studies.

That being said, there will always be opportunities for personal and career growth in the journalism industry. In most cases, it will be up to you to keep an eye out for these opportunities, and to make the most of them when they come your way.

5. Are there opportunities for advancement in this industry?

Some careers have more upward mobility than others, meaning that the chances of being promoted are higher in some careers than in others.

It is important to know what kind of opportunities for advancement are available in your chosen field. As mentioned before, journalism and media is a fiercely competitive industry, with relatively little upward mobility. Hard work will not go unnoticed, however, and if you establish a good reputation for yourself, you should be able to lead a successful career in this field.

It may help to discuss these questions with as many people as possible – talk to your parents, friends, mentors, lecturers, tutors, and especially professionals within the industry. This way, you will get a more accurate picture of what it is like to work in the journalism and media environment.

Ready to start your career in this exciting, yet challenging, industry?  Browse and apply for one of the latest jobs on Job Mail.

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Job Mail Product and Marketing Manager. Social media fundi and digital junkie.

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