The Many Roles of Journalists

The Journalism Industry

Journalists produce written content for magazines, newspapers and radio. They also create data sets, images and videos.

Seven-in-ten journalists say they are very or somewhat satisfied with their work. They often have a large degree of autonomy. They can also earn a living by writing freelance stories for a variety of outlets.


While the twin forces of economic c onsolidation and technological c onvergence are changing the traditional role and nature of journalism, journalists generally report high levels of job satisfaction and fulfillment. Journalists often work in senior roles as editors or producers who coordinate the work of other journalists, and they may also be freelancers whose writing is published by many different outlets.

Research and investigative skills are essential for those who want to be good journalists. Research is done by reading books, newspapers and other media to discover background information for a story. Investigations require a more hands-on approach to gather evidence and follow leads.

While journalism is primarily about reporting factual information, it can also include opinions and values. The “Opinion” section of a newspaper for example contains articles that express the writers’ political views and ideologies. It is important for readers to understand the distinction between news and opinion pieces when reading these types of publications.


Journalists can also work in broadcasting, which involves sharing information via television or radio. Broadcast journalism often takes the form of news programs that may be live or recorded and simulcast across networks of stations. Roles within this field can include anchoring and reporting.

Broadcast journalism evolved from early printed magazines, which began in the 17th century as learned journals but later included articles on current events. In the 1830s, cheap mass-circulation illustrated and women’s magazines appeared. These publications helped expand literacy, create common language and culture, argue for social and political reform and entertain the masses.

Communication advancements have reshaped the landscape of journalism, including heightened competition from international media agencies. Despite these challenges, most U.S. journalists remain highly satisfied with their jobs. Seven-in-ten say they are either “very” or “somewhat” proud of their work, and half report that their jobs give them a high level of emotional satisfaction. This is especially true among younger journalists.


With the advent of the Internet, journalism has expanded to the digital arena. With anyone having the ability to post an article on a website, journalists must focus on vetting items for accuracy and illuminating context. This shift may change the conceptualization of journalistic roles and how they are viewed by society.

Most of these jobs involve researching and interviewing to produce articles for online publishing. Often, they also require locating photographs and working with photographers to add images. Many journalists also have a social media presence, which is useful for promotion and interacting with readers.

It’s important for journalists to have basic computer skills, including using programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign to create graphics and video backgrounds. Most importantly, they must have a strong understanding of how to write well and the difference between news and opinion. In addition, journalists must be able to work well under tight deadlines. This can be especially challenging in online publications, where articles are published almost immediately after being written.


If you’re a writer with a passion for seeking and telling the truth, journalism might be the right career path for you. Journalists write traditional text-oriented articles, film documentaries and podcasts, create photo essays for TV broadcasts, help run 24-hour newscasts, and keep the news at our fingertips via social media and internet content.

One of the most elaborate forms of journalism is known as interpretive journalism, a style that provides scope and depth in reporting trends, events, topics or people. This type of journalism often wins prestigious awards and is typically the most detailed form of reporting.

Those who enjoy art can find work as an arts journalist, who gathers news in the fields of music, dance, films, literature, painting, drama and poetry to share with their audience. Those who love celebrities can be found working as paparazzi journalists, gathering information on movies and shows or public appearances for their audiences. Other journalists specialize in reviewing products such as electronics, automobiles, and food.

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