Journalism & Media
The journalism industry uses a variety of media types and job roles to create stories for people. Organizations within the industry range from small, local or independently owned publications to larger national and international brands. Journalists collect, write, and distribute news and other current information. Media can encompass many forms of mass communication producing news, education, and entertainment. Multimedia journalists work to find new ways to understand their audience and to communicate the most important stories of the day.
Audio journalism is a form of communication that shares information using mediums such as podcasts, streaming, and other digital platforms. Content may be more conversational in nature while still providing clear, comprehensive information. Roles within audio journalism might center on the technical side of production (filming, editing and producing) or the reporting side (telling the story in a compelling way).
Sports journalism has always been an essential component of any news media organization that focuses on writing and distributing news stories related to sporting topics and games. From game-day coverage and sideline reporting to recapping plays and interviewing athletes and coaches, journalists find creative ways to connect fans with the sports they love using a variety of mediums including broadcast, social media and print/digital reporting.
Newspaper & Magazine (print and digital)
All journalists must be able to write clearly and effectively. Journalists covering stories from breaking news, politics, health, education, entertainment and many other desks can do so for both print and digital publications. Newspapers offer a medium that is intended for a general audience. They are concise, objective and identify the main points of a story. Magazines may target a more specific audience and the writing is aimed towards particular genres and topics. (eEx. Bon Appetit Magazine).
Whether working on-air or behind the camera, broadcast journalists deliver news and information to the public via radio, television and video. This industry combines technical know-how including operating recording equipment, microphones and editing software, with strong communication and reporting skills and stage presence for on-air talent.
The most widely known area of publishing is book publishing, but newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals also fall within this industry. In general, these organizations, which are known as publishers, issue copies of works for which they usually possess copyright. Publishers may publish works originally created by others for which they have obtained the rights and/or works that they have created in-house. Much of publishing is transitioning to online content, and the addition of e-books and apps has changed the industry some, and added new roles and skills needed within the field.
Skills to develop for success in this field
- Active listening and interviewing
- Ability to research and think critically
- Ability to take constructive feedback/criticism
- Advanced verbal and written communication
- Computer and technical skills (in various forms of electronic media)
- Editing and attention to detail
- Flexibility and versatility
- Persistence and resilience
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Time management
- Understanding of social media
Online resources specific to the industry
- Vault* is a comprehensive resource for information on what it is like to work within an industry, company or profession.
*Note: Login via the NCA Resources page https://www.northwestern.edu/careers/resources/index.html using your NetID and password, and create your own account using your NU email address.
Log in to check out these resources for more specific information about journalism, media & entertainment:
- Vault Guide to Newspaper & Magazine Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in magazine and newspapers outlets.
- Vault Guide to Book Publishing Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in roles such as book editing, copywriting, research and many more.
- Vault Guide to Writing and Editing Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in careers such as blogging, columnist writing, copy editing, journalism and many more.
- Vault Guide to Radio Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in careers such as audio recording engineer, DJs, news anchors, foreign correspondent, announcers, producers and more.
- Vault Guide to Television Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in careers such as camera operators, directors, graphic designers, news anchors, political reporters and more.
- Vault Guide to Journalism Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success for 33 careers in the journalism industry.
- Vault Guide to Media and Entertainment Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in careers such as photo editor, podcaster, production assistant, social media manager, broadcast announcer and more.
- Vault Guide to Communications Jobs: Provides an essential overview of skills, duties and responsibilities, as well as facts about salary, work environment, industry outlook and tips for success in careers such as digital advertising/marketing, internet content curator, media relations specialist, public relations manager and more.
Job posting and other career informational sites relevant to the field:
- Carrd: a free resource that organizes work samples (or clips) in a simple, easy-to-read format.
- Journalism Jobs: Full-time job and internship postings in all areas of the journalism industry.
- Media Bistro: Features jobs and internships in writing, editing, production, marketing and communications.
- Media Job Board: Includes job postings in journalism, marketing/advertising, public relations, media and broadcasting.
- Poynter: Offers resources and support for student journalists to increase media literacy and journalism skills and features a journalism job board.
- Public Media Jobs: Features jobs and opportunities in public radio and TV in the United States, including major market media organizations, local stations and other news organizations.
- Teamwork Online: Full-time job and internship postings in all areas of sports, including professional teams and organizations.
- We Are Next: Features internship and job board with hand-selected opportunities in marketing, public relations and other media related positions.
Key information or knowledge for this field
Clips and Work Samples:
“Clips” refer to writing samples and published articles. Clips might also include video and audio recordings or other pieces that show your skill set and ability within the journalism industry. A great way to get started and gain clips is to get involved with campus-based publications/student organizations. Many journalism jobs and internships will ask for at least a few clips or work samples as part of the application process.
Professionals in the journalism industry often use social media (especially Twitter) to connect, share job/internship/freelance opportunities and offer career advice. Use social media to follow news organizations, journalists, and other media companies.
Sample Twitter accounts to follow:
You can expand your search on social media further by checking out specific media-related hashtags as well. Be aware of your online presence and be sure to remain professional and appropriate when using social media. Consider making separate private and professional accounts if needed or add the phrase “my opinions are my own” in your bio. Use social media as a way to promote your work and engage with other professionals, students and Northwestern alumni.
Follow and subscribe to journalism-based newsletters in order to keep a pulse on the industry. These newsletters often feature news, job information and career tips.
Sample newsletters to follow:
- American Press Institute: A morning newsletter that features top industry headlines, insights you can apply, new information from global and unusual sources and ideas that challenge you to think differently.
- Columbia Journalism Review: Provides brief commentary on the biggest media story of the day, plus a roundup of notable pieces.
- Poynter, The Lead: Provides resources and connections for student journalists and features innovative work from student publications, dissects tricky issues relevant to students, and shares tools, internships and scholarships.
Relevant student groups and professional organizations
Northwestern Student Groups:
- In Our Nature
- National Association of Black Journalists, NU Chapter
- Nine Lives
- North by Northwestern
- Northwestern Flipside
- Northwestern News Network
- NU Asian Magazine
- Society of Professional Journalists, NU Chapter
- Spoon University
- The Daily
- The Deep End
- WNUR Student Radio
External Professional Organizations:
- Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
- Association for Women in Sports Media
- Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)
- National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
- National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
- National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)
- Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
- Online News Association
- Overseas Press Club of America
- Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)
- Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
- The Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in the USA
- The Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA) (https://www.nlgja.org/)