Magazine journalists are employed by major commercial publishing companies (such as TI Media, Ascential etc), smaller specialist publishers and publishers that produce in-house magazines for corporate customers. A significant number of magazine journalists are freelance.
Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- planning publication contents
- reading and researching features or articles
- verifying information
- interviewing people
- writing, editing, proofreading and submitting text
- attending relevant events, fairs and conferences
- creating and maintaining a network of contacts
- meeting and liaising with other staff including artists, photographers and editors
- generating ideas for future stories or features.
Although it is possible to become a journalist without a degree, most new recruits (70%+) are graduates or postgraduates below the age of 30. A postgraduate qualification accredited by the NCTJ or an English or media studies degree may be advantageous. Specialist knowledge or a scientific or technical background may be required for some vacancies.
It is essential to gain prior relevant experience via freelance work, publishing articles for magazines, student newspapers, writing competitions, voluntary work etc. The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) can provide details about organisations offering work experience opportunities. All candidates must have good general and current affairs knowledge, and excellent oral and written communication, interpersonal and IT skills.
Where to find out more
Vacancies are advertised via the internet, in the publication that is recruiting, in national newspapers, Media Week, Press Gazette, Campaign, Broadcast and The Bookseller. Many jobs receive little advertising, so networking, job shadowing and speculative applications (including samples of written work) are advisable. Directories such as Willings Press Guide and Benn's Media Directory may be useful for direct approaches to employers. Some employers operate graduate trainee schemes - early applications for such schemes are advisable.