The rise of digital media, citizen journalism and instant news reported on a variety of platforms has had a dramatic effect on the three traditional areas of work within journalism; broadcast, newspaper and magazine. Whilst the consumption of news on screen via social media, websites and video has reduced opportunities, it has also created an exciting range of new jobs in a multimedia environment. Potential entrants need to fully engage, explore and gain experience working across a wide variety of publishing platforms.  The ability to create a strong professional social media profile, comment and retweet the words of key industry players is important. It is essential to gain as much experience as possible, either through individual activity or through organised internships, work experience, either paid or unpaid.

Sheffield Hallam Journalism graduates have been successful in finding employment across the industry in newspapers, online and broadcast media, magazine journalism, social and digital media, PR and communications. Comments from Sheffield Hallam Journalism graduates:

"I learned to work to deadlines, how to set up and customise websites and to write for online audiences"

"My course taught me the importance of attention to detail, re-reading articles and editing"

Employability Skills

General employability skills, useful when looking for work in journalism include: 

  • an interest in news, current affairs/trends and good general knowledge
  • excellent written communication and research skills
  • good oral communication
  • ability to work under pressure and to deadlines, both within teams and individually
  • being interested in people, good at building rapport with colleagues and strangers, able to handle interactions with sensitivity, empathy and diplomacy
  • analytical skills; able to absorb, extract and present information clearly
  • having an eye for detail  and able to generate ideas for stories, and the confidence to pitch to others
  • resourcefulness and problem-solving skills
  • an understanding of aspects of media law and codes of conduct

and you must develop a strong portfolio which demonstrates your diverse range of skills

(Source: Prospects 2013)

Finding Work

Be prepared to make speculative applications, network intensively as well as using jobsites. When approaching organisations, responding to adverts or following up contacts, research carefully and use the appropriate house style. Stress your flexibility, versatility, be confident and give evidence of relevant experience. Take advantage of opportunities to work for student organisations including radio and newspapers, charities, local media and demonstrate how that helps you to meet the requirements of the job.

When applying for jobs, think creatively about the skills you need for your long term career plan. You may need to be flexible and apply for work which is not your first choice. Focus on getting a foot in the door and gathering appropriate experience to help you progress towards your dream job. Be creative about where you look for opportunities. Journalism skills are valued by a wide range of employers including different types of media and marketing companies, PR consultancies, communications agencies, charities and even educational organisations, such as schools, colleges and universities.

For broadcast journalism, it is important to have an understanding of appropriate technical equipment and relevant editing software along with strong visual and audio presentation skills. 

Further study 

The Diploma in Journalism, accredited by the National Council for Training in Journalism  (NCTJ) is usually required for jobs in journalism. For further details check on the courses section of NCTJ website. Employers generally require a broader range of digital and social media skills and it is important to demonstrate this through your online profile. Use key sites to showcase your abilities. You can do this by blogging, developing your own website, tweeting, using Tumblr and Pinterest.

The Broadcast Journalism Training Council  (BJCT) and the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) also offer a range of courses that you might want to investigate.


Journalism Diversity Fund 

Internship opportunities and bursaries are available to encourage participation of all groups within the profession. To find out more see the Journalism Diversity Fund website.  


Freelance / Self-employment

There are increasing numbers of freelancers working within the industry so it is  very important to network, develop contacts, use social media professionally and develop business acumen. Excellent support is available from Enterprise Team at Sheffield Hallam University. 

Maggie Bamford   (September 2014)

Last modified: 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 14:21