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How to Become a Journalist - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

How to Become a Journalist - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

***Open Colleges does not currently offer Journalism courses***

Get a Free Course Guide

/ How to Become a Journalist - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

***Open Colleges does not currently offer Journalism courses***

How to become a Journalist

A Journalist is a person who is professionally trained in the practice of investigating and reporting events, issues and trends to various audiences in formats such as print, broadcast and online media including newspapers, magazines and books, radio and television stations and networks, and blogs and social and mobile media.

The field of journalism is dynamic, fast-paced and very competitive and includes skills such as writing, editing, researching.

Job Outlook Average Salary Work Hours Age Groups
Education Level Skills Trends Interview with a Pro


Journalism Job Outlook

The graph shows historical and projected (to 2017) employment levels (thousands) for this occupation.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, DEEWR trend data to November 2014 and DEEWR projections to 2019. Estimates have been rounded.

Over the five years to November 2019, the number of job openings for Journalists and Other Writers is expected to be average (between 10,001 and 25,000). Job openings can arise from employment growth and people leaving the occupation.

The (internet) vacancy level for Journalists and Other Writers is high. Annually, 11.3 per cent of Journalists and Other Writers leave this group, creating potential job openings (this compares with 14.2% across all occupations).

Journalism Salaries

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS EEBTUM survey August 2014 cat. no. 6310.0. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Note: These figures are indicative and cannot be used to determine a particular wage rate. lists the wage for a Journalist with 5 years of experience as being between an average of $45 000 to a maximum salary of $67 000.

Journalism Weekly Work Hours

The graph shows the average weekly hours (by gender and full-time and part-time) worked for this occupation, compared with all occupations. 

Employment for Journalists and Other Writers to November 2019 is expected to grow at a moderate level Employment in this large occupation (24,400 in November 2014) maintained stable in the past five years and slightly rose in the long-term (ten years).

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Journalism Age Profile

As expected, the Journalism industry has a strong appeal amongst young people, making it a vibrant and dynamic work environment.

 Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Journalist Education Levels

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Great Employment Prospects

According to a new Hudson survey of salaries, the employment market is broadly positive for writing professionals, with salaries rising. This is relevant in Australia and New Zealand.

Statistics on the Creative Industry

The creative industries have emerged as one of Australia’s strongest performing sectors, with employment growing by a steady 2.8 per cent per year from 2006 to 2011. According to the last census, jobs in architecture, design, visual arts, film, music, performing arts, publishing and digital content are booming.

This has been attributed to the digital revolution and the rising demand for digital and design services across the whole economy. The census revealed that more than 370 000 people are now employed in the creative industries, gaining 47 000 jobs in the period between 2006 and 2011, growing at more than twice the rate of growth in the general workforce.

Interview with a Freelance Journalist

Johanna Baker-Dowdell  Freelance Journalist

Johanna Baker-Dowdell

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger, PR consultant @Strawberry Communications


In two sentences, tell us what a bit about your role as a freelance journalist.

I have written for Real Estate Hot Topics Magazine, Maeve Magazine, Tasmania Enjoy!, The Senior Newspaper, Flying Solo, Australian Business Women's Network HerBusiness Blog, Essential Baby, Executive PA Magazine and mX.

The great thing about being a freelance journalist is the variety of the work I do. One day I might be interviewing the owner of a vineyard and learning about viticulture and the next I am writing about how to market a small business. The variety keeps me interested and waking up for new challenges every day.

What does a freelance journalist do on a day to day basis?

I have a number of publications I freelance for and all have different deadlines, so my days could involve anything from pitching a story idea to an editor or accepting a commission, to researching and interviewing for the article or writing the actual story. Some days I interview my subjects in person, other days I might interview them over the phone or Skype.

How is freelancing different to being employed in a role?

As a freelancer I am my own boss so I am responsible for making sure I complete my articles on time from my home office, but it also means I have the freedom to pick and choose what I would like to write about. I like the flexibility freelancing offers me because I have two young boys and it means I can work around them, instead of being in an office from 9-5 every week day.

What are the best parts of working as a freelance journalist?

I love the variety of my job and the opportunities that present themselves as a result of the people I meet through my work. A lot of my work has come through recommendations from others I've worked with, or because someone has read another article I wrote or posted on social media.

What skills/attributes do potential media industry employees have to have?

You need to be able to tell a great story. If you can connect your reader to the story's subject within moments of them reading the first few paragraphs then you know you're doing a great job. It also helps to be a good communicator, be willing to ask the hard questions that nobody else will and be proficient on social media to help broadcast your stories and ideas.

What're your favourite things about working in the media Industry?

I get to meet amazing people and see incredible things through the course of my work. I have interviewed a range of people from Ita Buttrose to Colin Hay from Men at Work and I have travelled extensively which has given me plenty of writing material. I learn something from everyone I meet, which means I have a head full of lots of tiny pieces of information!

Thanks, Johanna, for sharing your story with Open Colleges.

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