Become a Journalist

Train with PA Media / PA Training

Spanish MP being interviewed on the street
Spanish MP being interviewed on the street

How To Get a Job in Journalism – Interviewing tips

Being prepared for any interview is a must and here we share some specific advice that will help with interviewing in this sector.

Research and persevere – they are what reporters do  

If you do get an interview begin by researching thoroughly. Here are a few tips that will help:

  • Understanding the nature of the business you hope to join is critical.
  • Who owns it? What is the readership/audience size? What is that readership’s social profile?
  • Think about the type of stories and the kinds of platforms the paper or website prefers. Then ask, why?
  • All good reporters do thorough research, so why wouldn’t you?
  • Go in with story ideas. Never go to an interview for a reporting job without taking a list of story suggestions.
  • Be prepared – you may be asked for a practical demonstration of your abilities. This may involve being given a story to write up, or you might be sent out onto the streets to find stories. If you have done your homework on the area that will help.

Previous work experience is beneficial but not compulsory 

Undoubtedly one of the key areas you must consider is work experience. The more work experience you can point to the stronger your case. Don’t worry if it spans a range of media; it illustrates your interest in the business. But this pre-supposes you can get work experience. Many organisations offer this opportunity but there are often waiting lists.

Be persistent, after all, it is a requirement of being a good reporter. Don’t give up. Be polite, of course, but keep asking. Once you get a placement ask if you can go back or if there are other businesses within the company you might move on to next.

Are you ready? 

The characteristics of a good reporter are persistence, a sense of curiosity, bloody-mindedness and resourcefulness. And the one thing all editors are looking for is enthusiasm. The reporter whose attitude is about having a go, looking for the chance to do the next thing, a willingness to try anything, that is the reporter editors want.

Trainee reporters are not usually well paid, the hours are long and the work is tough. Are you sure you want to do this? If you are, then what are you going to do to make it happen?

Paul Jones, Head of Foundation Course, Newcastle