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Magazine journalist

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

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends; away from home

Future employment

There will be 3.5% more Magazine journalist jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

You may:

  • go to meetings to plan the content of the magazine
  • suggest ideas for articles
  • interview people or research information for articles
  • fact check and proof read articles
  • write articles to suit the magazine's style
  • keep up-to-date with developments and trends in the magazine's subject area
  • work as a critic, reviewing things like films, food or concerts

Working environment

You could work in an office or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
  • specialist journalism courses

Magazine journalists can come from a wide variety of subject backgrounds. Particularly relevant degree subjects include:

  • English
  • journalism
  • media

Some courses are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

You can do a postgraduate journalism course if your first degree is not in a related subject. Some of these are also accredited by the Professional Publishers Association.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) has advice on bursaries and funding to encourage greater diversity in journalism.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You could take a college course like the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism.

It will give you some of the skills and knowledge you'll need to go on to do further journalism training. This could be through an apprenticeship or further study.

Entry requirements

Most people following this route have:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

You can work towards this role through a journalist or a senior journalist higher apprenticeship.

For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Competition for jobs is strong, especially with well-known magazines. Developing a network of contacts is essential. You'll find it useful to have examples of your published work in a portfolio.

To gain practical experience and get to know people in the industry you could:

  • contact magazines for information on work shadowing, internships and work experience
  • write reviews of films, plays or products
  • volunteer for a charity looking to develop their website or communications
  • write your own blog and build an online presence
  • create content for university media like student newspapers, society websites, student radio or TV

Direct application

You could apply directly for jobs, especially if you have knowledge of the specialist area the magazine covers. For example, in healthcare, science or technical subjects.

You would need to build up a network of contacts as many journalist jobs are not advertised.

Other routes

You can study Level 5 and above professional qualifications in journalism which are accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). Courses are available online or at a college or training centre.

The Level 5 Diploma in Journalism has practical magazine journalism optional units.

The NCTJ also offer online and short courses to help develop essential skills like:

  • shorthand
  • writing for the web
  • media law
  • feature writing

More information

Career tips

It's useful to develop skills for creating online media content like:search engine optimisation (SEO); technical skills like HTML; using web design packages

Professional and industry bodies

As a journalism student you can apply for student membership of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). The NUJ also has information on bursaries that may be available.

Further information

You can find out more about working in magazine publishing and journalism from the:National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ); Professional Publishers Association; National Union of Journalists

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You could specialise in a particular field of magazine journalism such as:trade or in-house publications; consumer magazines; specific features writing

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 permanent employee of a magazine 'house'.

You can study a range of professional qualifications in journalism, either online or part time at a training centre, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

As a journalism student you can apply for student membership of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). The NUJ also has information on bursaries that may be available.

You can find out more about working in publishing from the Professional Publishers Association and the National Union of Journalists.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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