Journalist Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Journalist Do?

Journalists gather information to write news pieces that will be presented to the public. They are responsible for pitching captivating stories, collecting and verifying data, preparing clean, concise, and factual articles, creating trustworthy relationships, and staying up to date on the latest news developments.

Maintaining an ethical and objective standard in reporting is crucial in this line of work. A journalist can work at a variety of media outlets from print to television or digital media. Their story areas can range across all topics, therefore journalists must have an aptitude for effectively extracting information. Successful journalists have exceptional communication and networking skills, as well as the ability to meet deadlines in a timely manner. 

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National Average Salary

Journalist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Journalist is:


Journalist Job Descriptions

Crafting the perfect job description may be the key to finding an exceptional journalist. To help you with your recruiting search, our team has put together some examples from past openings.

Example 1

What we’re looking for

ABC Company is looking for Multimedia Journalists (MMJs) who can find compelling stories about the issues that really impact our lives and tell them through the lens of their assigned bureau’s community members. The MMJs we want to work with are curious, creative, and brave in their pursuit of important stories. Successful applicants will have powerful writing and research skills as well as a commanding presence on screen. We want Bureau MMJs to establish residence within their assigned bureau’s county.

Major duties and responsibilities

  • Create original news stories; gather information for news stories using beat sources, contacts and leads
  • Build contacts and sources within the assigned community
  • Report within assigned deadlines
  • Deliver news reports, including live reports, demonstrating energy, confidence, professional appearance and voice quality
  • Write, shoot, audio mix and edit own news stories, interviews and features for an assigned newscast to tell the story effectively
  • Work with assignment desk editors, production staff and independently in the news gathering process
  • Work with a ENG/Photojournalist on occasion
  • Manage general upkeep of assigned company equipment
  • Responsible for representing channel in a professional manner
  • Establish a community presence outside of the newscasts
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Skill/abilities and knowledge

  • Ability to read, write, speak and understand English
  • Must have sufficiently strong story development skills to submit original story ideas on a daily basis
  • Live shot experience required
  • Must be able to develop sources, work a beat, and break stories
  • Must have strong on-camera skills
  • Must have ability to organize and manage multiple priorities and work under time pressure deadline
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to clearly communicate solutions
  • Ability to relate well with diverse populations and age groups
  • Ability to interface with internal company personnel
  • Ability to handle breaking news on-air
  • Requires adaptability, enthusiasm, initiative and a positive approach to problem solving
  • Must obtain and maintain a valid driver’s license for authorized driving in the State of residence

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, Communications or related field or comparable television work experience preferred.
  • 3 Years of Television News Reporting Experience or comparable experience

Our culture

Every employee is an influencer and culture keeper. We expect respectful communication (despite pressure), openness to feedback, an eagerness to learn, and an overall positive attitude! Roles may require the following:

  • Overtime may be required to meet deadlines
  • Varying schedule due to, breaking news and/or daily news coverage requirements
  • May entail phone or physical presence at the facility for equipment failure or other disasters. This includes, but is not limited to equipment and power failures, loss of contracted services, storms or severe weather, and schedule conflicts
  • Participation in an established on-call rotation
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 50 pounds at varying distances
  • Local travel in company car and may require additional trips for special assignments

Example 2

The Multimedia Journalist is responsible for researching, writing, capturing visual content and editing stories for multiple platforms.

What you’ll do:

  • Receives assignment or evaluates news leads and news tips to develop story ideas.
  • Gathers and verifies factual information regarding stories through interview, observation, and research.
  • Organizes material, determines slant or emphasis, and writes story according to prescribed editorial style and format standards.
  • Shoots video and still photos to illustrate stories.
  • Edits, or assists in editing, videos for all multimedia platforms.
  • Appears on television program when conducting taped interview or narration
  • Gives live reports from site of event or mobile broadcast unit.
  • Work cooperatively with photographer assigned to story, if one is assigned.
  • Assist news producer in preparing newscast.
  • Assist online staff in preparing for multi media stories.
  • Report, write, capture quality visual content, edit and produce stories for multiple platforms on deadline, such as Internet and digital channels.

What you’ll need:

  • Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism or related degree or equivalent years of experience
  • Minimum of two years of experience

What you’ll bring:

  • Computer literacy required, including newsroom computer systems.
  • Videography and non-linear editing experience preferred.
  • Knowledge of broadcast quality camera equipment.
  • Edit video on Final Cut Pro editing systems, or similar equipment.
  • Strong broadcast and AP style writing skills.
  • Proficient at posting content to various websites.
  • Self-motivated and able to work in a fast-paced deadline-driven environment.
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Valid driver’s license and good driving record required. In addition, proof of insurance and liability coverage may be required.

Example 3

The ideal candidate will have a track record of finding compelling stories via social media, and of producing original reporting using verification and open-source intelligence techniques.

They will be at home in a fast-paced, video-led, breaking news environment, and able to serve a diverse set of media clients. They will be equally capable of working on more in-depth reports and research projects. They will be comfortable working on a range of stories, from conflict zones, to weather events, and politics.

The ideal candidate will be self-motivated and able to motivate others. They will be comfortable representing the company both publicly and at industry events.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Monitoring ABC Company’s news feeds for emerging stories and undertaking advanced searches using our proprietary tools to discover original, eyewitness content
  • Gathering and verifying UGC images, posts, videos and other content from social media
  • Writing clean, concise and accurate copy for publication on the ABC Company News and social platforms
  • Creating and maintaining an editorial calendar and discovery sources
  • Working closely with newsroom clients and content creators
  • Identifying and executing on opportunities for long-form reporting and research projects
  • Flexibility to work various shifts as needed, including evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Actively pitch and develop unique stories that are on brand for ABC Company
  • Ability to script, shoot and appear in compelling video packages

Experience required:

  • At least 3-5 years’ experience in journalism, particularly online or broadcast journalism
  • A fluid, natural communicator who has experience writing and editing copy for publication.
  • Expert understanding of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, YouTube, 4chan, etc.
  • Experience with verification and open-source intelligence (OSINT) techniques
  • Foreign-language skills are strongly favored, but not required
  • Must be organized and self-sufficient
  • Must be a team player who seeks diverse perspectives

Sample Interview Questions

  • What piece from your portfolio are you most proud of?
  • What content would you most prefer to write about?
  • How would you manage the stress of tight deadlines?
  • How do you ensure your work is accurate and factual?
  • Can you list three current stories that impact our publication?
  • What are the best qualities of your writing style?
  • Would you be hesitant to ask uncomfortable questions?
  • How would you handle a hostile or uncooperative interviewee?
  • Are there any famous journalists that inspire you? Why are they inspirational to you?
  • If you could improve your writing, what would you change?
  • How do you feel about the regulation of social media and its effects on journalism?

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