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 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 5% more Magazine journalist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • going to meetings to plan the content of the magazine
  • suggesting ideas for articles
  • interviewing and researching to collect information for articles
  • writing articles to suit the magazine’s style
  • keeping up-to-date with developments and trends in the magazine's subject area
  • working as a critic, reviewing things like films, food or concerts


You may find it useful to have a degree in a subject like journalism or media. This will help you learn about the magazine industry and develop the skills you'll need as a journalist.

You could also do a postgraduate course in journalism. Some of these are accredited by the Professional Publishers Association.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) or above and 2 to 3 A levels
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant qualifications include Level 3 Diploma in Journalism or Level 3 Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.

Some colleges offer the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism and courses in Shorthand, accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course


You can work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a junior journalist.

Employers will set their own entry requirements.

£18,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £18,000 to £25,000

Experienced salary: Up to £35,000

Freelance writers negotiate their own rates.

These figures are a guide.


You’ll usually work 9am to 6pm. You may need to work longer or more irregular hours if you have a deadline.

If you’re freelance your hours will depend on how much work you have. 

You may spend some of your time travelling, including overnight stays or overseas.

You could work in an office or from home.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You could apply directly for jobs, especially if you have knowledge of the specialist area the magazine covers.

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

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 staff writer.

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 English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent written communication skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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