Newspaper journalist

Newspaper journalists investigate and write up stories for local, regional and national newspapers.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £50,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 5% more Newspaper journalist jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could be reporting on council meetings and school fêtes for a local paper, or on general elections and world events for the national press.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • investigating a story as soon as it breaks
  • following up potential leads and developing new contacts
  • interviewing people face-to-face and over the phone
  • attending press conferences
  • recording meetings and interviews using recording equipment or shorthand
  • coming up with ideas for stories and features
  • writing up articles in a style that will appeal to the reader
  • sub-editing other reporters' articles for publication
  • writing up articles for online publication

You could start as a trainee on a local or regional newspaper. Opportunities are rare and you'll need to show you've writing experience.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You could also get into this career through a degree in journalism or English, or a postgraduate journalism qualification.

You could also take a journalism qualification like those offered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has more careers information.

£15,000 to £50,000

Starter salary: £15,000 (local newspaper trainee)

Experienced salary: £20,000 to £30,000

Salaries on national newspapers may be higher.

Freelance journalists agree a fee for each piece of work they do. These are negotiated individually or by following NUJ guidance.

These figures are a guide.


You may work long, irregular hours including evenings, weekends and public holidays.

You'll usually work in an open-plan office. You'll also spend time out of the office, following up stories. If you work for the national or international press you could travel abroad.

With experience, you could become a chief reporter or a specialist writer, covering areas like politics, business or particular regions of the country. You could move to a national newspaper or work as a critic.

You could move into other areas such as magazine, broadcast or online journalism. Or you could work in a press office or public relations.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • excellent 'plain English' writing skills
  • excellent research skills
  • excellent listening and questioning skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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