What is a Journalist?

A journalist is trained to gather, analyze, and report on news and current events. They use various sources to investigate and report on stories, including interviews with sources, research, and observations. Journalists can work in a variety of media, including print, television, radio, and online platforms.

Journalists play a vital role in informing the public and holding those in power accountable. They are responsible for reporting on a wide range of issues, from local news stories to global events, and they work to uncover the truth behind stories that affect individuals and communities. In addition to reporting on breaking news, journalists may also write feature stories and investigative reports that delve into topics in greater depth.

What does a Journalist do?

Journalists taking notes.

Journalists play an important role in our society by providing us with timely and accurate information about events and issues that affect our lives. They serve as the watchdogs of government and other powerful institutions, holding them accountable for their actions and bringing to light any wrongdoing or corruption. By investigating and reporting on important topics, journalists help to shape public opinion and influence policy decisions. They also give a voice to those who may not otherwise be heard, shining a light on stories and perspectives that may be overlooked or marginalized.

Duties and Responsibilities
Some of the key duties and responsibilities of journalists include:

  • Reporting the news accurately and fairly: Journalists have a duty to report the news accurately and fairly. This means presenting all sides of a story and avoiding bias or sensationalism. Journalists must also fact-check their information to ensure it is accurate.
  • Investigating stories: Journalists have a responsibility to investigate stories thoroughly. This may involve conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and gathering evidence. Journalists must be careful to present the facts objectively and avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions.
  • Protecting sources: Journalists have a duty to protect the confidentiality of their sources. This may involve keeping the identity of a source anonymous or refraining from disclosing information that could lead to the identification of a source.
  • Upholding ethical standards: Journalists must adhere to ethical standards in their work. This includes avoiding conflicts of interest, being transparent about their sources and methods, and avoiding plagiarism.
  • Serving the public interest: Journalists have a responsibility to serve the public interest by providing accurate, reliable information. This may involve reporting on issues that are of public concern, investigating corruption or wrongdoing, and holding those in power accountable.

Types of Journalists
Journalism is a vast field that encompasses a range of different roles and specializations. Here are some common types of journalists and their typical duties:

  • Investigative Journalist: Investigative journalists specialize in uncovering news stories that involve wrongdoing or criminal activities. They often spend months or even years researching and gathering evidence before publishing their findings.
  • Broadcast Journalist: Broadcast journalists work for radio or television stations, and they report the news on air. They may also conduct interviews, write scripts, and edit video footage.
  • Multimedia Journalist: Multimedia journalists use a combination of audio, video, and written content to tell stories across various platforms. They may work for newspapers, magazines, or websites.
  • Political Journalist: Political journalists cover news stories related to politics and government. They may report on political campaigns, elections, or legislative activity.
  • Sports Journalist: Sports journalists report on athletic events, teams, and athletes. They may write articles, conduct interviews, and report on live events.
  • Science Journalist: Science journalists report on scientific research and discoveries. They may write articles, produce videos, or create multimedia content to explain complex scientific concepts to a broader audience.
  • Entertainment Journalist: Entertainment journalists cover news stories related to the entertainment industry, such as movies, television shows, and music. They may conduct interviews with celebrities, review films or albums, and report on entertainment events.
  • Feature Writer: Feature writers specialize in writing in-depth stories that go beyond the headlines. They may report on human interest stories, cultural trends, or lifestyle topics.
  • Business Journalist: Business journalists cover news stories related to the economy, finance, and business. They may report on corporate earnings, stock market trends, or government policies that impact businesses.
  • News Reporter: News reporters are journalists who gather, investigate, and report news stories to the public. They may work for media outlets such as newspapers, TV or radio stations, online news platforms, or news agencies.
  • Correspondent: Correspondents work for a particular media organization and are assigned to cover a specific beat, topic, or geographic area. They are often based in foreign countries and are responsible for reporting on local events, politics, and other news of interest to their home audience.
  • Photojournalist: Photojournalists photograph, edit, and display images in order to tell a visual story. They are journalistic professionals that are skilled at interpreting and communicating an event through photographs.

Are you suited to be a journalist?

Journalists have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also enterprising, meaning they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if journalist is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Journalist like?

Journalists work in a variety of settings, from traditional newsrooms to remote locations around the world. Most journalists work for newspapers, magazines, television or radio stations, or online media outlets. However, the rise of digital media has created new opportunities for freelance journalists and those who work from home or on the go.

In a traditional newsroom setting, journalists work in an open-plan office with desks arranged in rows or clusters. They may share office space with other reporters, editors, and support staff. The environment is fast-paced, with deadlines looming and breaking news stories constantly unfolding. Journalists work under pressure to research, write, and edit articles quickly and accurately, often with little time for revisions.

Newsrooms can be noisy and chaotic, with phones ringing, conversations happening, and news alerts blaring. Journalists must be able to stay focused amid distractions and work collaboratively with their colleagues. In addition to writing and reporting, they may attend meetings, participate in brainstorming sessions, and contribute to editorial decisions.

However, the workplace of a journalist is not limited to a traditional newsroom setting. Many journalists work remotely, from home or on location, using digital tools to communicate with colleagues and submit their work. This allows journalists to work more flexible hours and pursue stories that require them to travel or work in remote locations.

Freelance journalists, in particular, have the freedom to work on a variety of projects and sell their work to multiple outlets. They may work from home, coffee shops, or co-working spaces, and they often have to manage their own schedules and finances. This type of work requires a high level of self-discipline and organization, as well as the ability to network and market oneself to potential clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Journalist vs News Reporter

The terms "journalist" and "news reporter" are often used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between the two.

A journalist is someone who writes for a publication or produces content for a media outlet, such as a newspaper, magazine, or website. Their work may include news reporting, but it can also encompass features, opinion pieces, investigative pieces, and more. A journalist is often expected to have a deep understanding of the subject matter they are covering and to be able to provide analysis and context in addition to simply reporting the facts.

On the other hand, a news reporter is someone who specifically focuses on gathering and delivering news stories to the public. They may work for a print or online publication, a TV or radio station, or a news wire service. Their job is to gather information, conduct interviews, and write or broadcast stories that are accurate, informative, and timely. News reporters are often required to work under tight deadlines and to be able to report on a wide range of topics.

In summary, while all news reporters are journalists, not all journalists are news reporters. A journalist may write about a wide range of topics beyond news reporting, while a news reporter specifically focuses on gathering and reporting news stories.

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News Reporter

Pros and Cons of Being a Journalist

Journalism is a dynamic and challenging profession that requires a great deal of passion, commitment, and skill. While journalism can be a rewarding and exciting career, it also comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.


  • Opportunity to make a difference: Journalism provides an opportunity to make a difference by informing the public about important issues and holding those in power accountable.
  • Versatility: Journalists can work in a variety of media, including print, broadcast, and digital, and can cover a wide range of topics from politics to entertainment.
  • Constant learning: Journalists are constantly learning and staying up-to-date on current events, which can be intellectually stimulating.
  • Flexibility: Many journalists have flexible schedules and the ability to work from different locations, allowing for a better work-life balance.


  • Stressful and demanding: Journalism can be a stressful and demanding profession, with tight deadlines and the need to produce accurate and compelling stories.
  • Risk of burnout: Due to the fast-paced nature of the job, journalists are at risk of burnout, which can lead to physical and mental health problems.
  • Low pay: Many journalists are paid low salaries, especially when starting out in the field.
  • Safety concerns: Depending on the story and location, journalists may face safety concerns such as harassment, threats, and physical violence.

Overall, being a journalist can be a challenging and rewarding career choice for those who are passionate about informing the public and making a difference. However, it is important to consider the potential downsides and weigh them against the benefits before pursuing a career in this field.