Journalism Skills In Demand (With Tips To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Journalism focuses on collecting, developing, reviewing and presenting news or information to the public through radio, television, magazines, journals or newspapers. Journalists possess varied skills to conduct research and interviews on multiple topics and prepare news reports. If you aim to become a journalist, then learning about the skills that are in demand can help you become a successful one. In this article, we learn different journalism skills in demand, explore some tips to improve them and identify various ways to highlight them.

Journalism skills in demand

Following are some journalism skills in demand:

Interviewing skills

Interviewing is the practice of talking to individuals and asking them questions regarding their work or daily life. It is a vital journalism skill that employers seek in a candidate while hiring a journalist. This skill helps journalists gather and compile accurate and impactful stories to share with the readers or viewers. Here are a few points a journalist may keep in mind before publishing their interviews:

  • Use specific examples based on experiences to illustrate important points.

  • Ask questions from different people to present comprehensive information.

  • Verify the facts collected from sources before printing or airing the interview.

Reporting skills

Reporting skills include analysing the situation on the ground, investigating the aspects of the story and coherently giving the information to the audience. Speaking to sources and producing accurate stories are some aspects of reporting. It also focuses on being spontaneous and staying ready for unexpected challenges while reporting live from a location. Excellent reporting focuses on:

  • gathering and sharing relevant information

  • reporting with compassion and empathy towards the viewer

  • decoding the information gathered from sources

Ethics

Journalism ethics are based on truth, objectivity and reality. It is vital to have trustworthy relations with your sources and gain the trust of your audience through disseminating reliable information. Having knowledge of journalism ethics also adds to a journalist's reporting and writing skills. Common ethics of journalism are:

  • accountability

  • fairness

  • accuracy

  • humanity

Writing skills

Writing is a fundamental aspect of journalism and remains an essential skill in the field. Media professionals employ these skills to create podcast scripts, text stories, photo captions, reports and social media posts. Grammar and spelling are some key elements that allow a journalist to write articulated copies. Below are five basic features of writing in journalism:

  • objectivity

  • clarity

  • brevity

  • balance

  • creativity

Editing skills

Editing is rewriting and organising different parts of the content that you have written. It helps a journalist to ensure that their work is free of errors. Multimedia journalists also edit their photos and videos as required, using different editing tools before publishing them. Some aspects of editing are:

  • omitting terms and phrases that may confuse the audience

  • using a thesaurus to express the content in a clear and concise manner

  • refining the narrative of the content and ensuring to convey the correct information

Creating headlines

Headlines are titles of news items and allow a journalist to get the attention of their audience. These titles summarise the story in just a few words. Prominent journalists realise the importance of creating appealing headlines. Captivating headlines often result in virality. A good headline includes:

  • limited characters

  • interesting adjectives

  • persuasion

  • search engine optimisation

Digital media skills

The content for digital media includes online stories, photos, videos and social media posts. Possessing digital media skills is important in journalism, given how several media outlets produce digital content, which they publish on their websites and share on their social media pages. In digital media, a journalist can also include relevant informative videos to support their text stories and write different headlines and captions for their company's website and social media pages. Digital media helps a journalist in the following ways:

  • building a network of professional contacts

  • learning search engine optimisation

  • creating a personal website or blog

Website building

A website is one of the most commonly used platforms for posting news stories or feature articles. Knowing how to build a website is important for freelance and independent journalists. With the help of a website, these professionals can share their stories easily and do not have to rely on media outlets to get their content published. You may build a website either by using a coding language or using website templates that are available online.

Video recording and photography

Visual content has several advantages over text or audio content. The digital-first approach of media outlets focuses on using multimedia in abundance, so having video recording and photography skills proves to be helpful. Learning and enhancing these skills allow you to produce visual content, which helps you add value to your news articles by presenting engaging information.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

What does a journalist do?

A journalist primarily works on reporting and writing news articles and feature stories for a magazine, website or newspaper. They interview relevant individuals, conduct research to develop stories and ensure these stories are factually correct. A good story is often a result of how well a journalist communicates and works with other people to gather information and present them to the public.

They interact with several people routinely to find accurate and relevant information while pursuing an exclusive or other story or for an investigation to disseminate them to the public. If they are writing about an accident or a murder, they visit the crime scene to ask people if they know anything about the incident. They also maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the people they interview and publish the information accordingly.

Related: What Does A News Anchor Do? (With Skills And Qualifications)

Key responsibilities of a journalist

From generating news coverage across a variety of topics to creating visual and written content for a company's social media pages, here are some key responsibilities of a journalist:

  • delivering fast, accurate and engaging headlines and updates

  • preparing news coverage plans for important events, like elections

  • building a media network by establishing local and international contacts

  • presenting live reports, online news bulletins and panel discussions

  • attending various events and submitting news reports and highlights

  • verifying sources to find out the accuracy of the information

  • collaborating with team members to strengthen news coverage

  • understanding search engine optimisation to increase website traffic

  • spotting trends and stories by monitoring social media platforms

Related: What Are Photography Skills And How Can You Improve Them?

Tips for improving overall journalism skills

Here are some tips you may review to improve your journalism skills:

Ask for feedback

Feedback is a great tool that allows you to enhance your soft and hard skills. When a journalist is revising their work, they often ask for feedback from their colleagues and managers to deliver effective results. They ask their team members to read their content to gain new perspectives. This exercise is also important to identify mistakes you have missed while revising your content.

Conduct mock interviews

Conducting mock interviews is an excellent way to improve your interviewing skills. You can conduct mock interviews with your friends or family members. Prepare a list of questions in advance and conduct the interview as if it is real. While taking the interview, speak slowly and clearly, ensuring that the interviewees can understand your questions easily.

Use brevity

Brevity in content often attracts readers to read your articles. A short and simple piece of content is easier and quicker to read. Sometimes, readers scan a story to quickly learn about the topic, which makes keeping your content concise and coherent an important part of journalistic writing. Consider introducing the main point of your story in the first paragraph of the article. In the rest of the paragraphs, briefly mention the other details of the story. While editing, remove the information that does not add value to the story.

Related: 10 Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills

Ways to highlight journalism skills

Here are a few ways to highlight your journalism skills:

On a resume

A resume is one of the most effective ways to highlight your journalism skills. Read the job description carefully and add relevant skills to the resume. Mention your work experience and certifications that are related to journalism skills. Create a resume that reads professional and includes keywords that match the job description.

In a cover letter

For certain positions in journalism, employers may ask you to include a cover letter. In this document, highlight your professional experiences and write about why you are passionate about journalism or the job you are applying for. Including relevant qualifications in this letter helps the employer determine why you are a perfect fit for the job role.

During a job interview

Job interviews allow you to showcase your communication skills to the employer. Prepare for a job interview by practising some sample questions that employers commonly ask during an interview for different designations in journalism. Review your experiences and identify the key strengths that make you a qualified journalist.

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