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Magazine journalist

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Magazine journalists research and write news articles and features for a wide variety of publications.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but most new magazine journalists have an HND, degree or equivalent qualification. 

Paid or unpaid work experience is a good way to build up your skills and a portfolio of published work to show employers. You could gain this with magazines or other publications, including student papers, fanzines, charity newsletters, websites or blogs.

You’ll usually need knowledge of the subject area your magazine deals with. 

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) run courses and have more information about careers in magazine journalism.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication and writing skills
  • research skills
  • self-confidence, and the ability to make people feel relaxed
  • the ability to absorb information quickly
  • the ability to write in an appropriate style
  • keyboard and IT skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • going to meetings to plan the content of the magazine
  • suggesting ideas for articles
  • interviewing and researching to collect information for articles
  • writing articles to suit the magazine’s style
  • keeping up-to-date with developments and trends in the magazine's subject area
  • working as a critic, reviewing things like films, food or concerts

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £25,000

Experienced: Up to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000 or more

Freelance writers negotiate their own rates.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 6pm. You may need to work longer or more irregular hours if you have a deadline.

If you’re freelance your hours will depend on how much work you have. 

You may spend some of your time travelling, including overnight stays or overseas.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you may be able to progress to an editing position or move into another area like newspaper journalism, radio or TV. 

You could go freelance and write for various publications, or become a staff writer.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018