Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

How to Become a Journalist in India: Qualifications, Salary, etc.

Want to play a role in developing your nation? Ever thought of becoming a journalist? Highly prestigious in society, this could be a great choice for those who are confident and determined! Here’s all you need to know about how to become a journalist in India. Shalini Pathak, a Delhi-based journalist talks about the qualifications, courses, entrance exams, career prospects, and more!

role of a journalist career

1. Role of a Journalist in India

Before we get into the details of career in journalism, let’s see what a journalist really does and what are the necessary steps to become a journalist in India.

Journalism offers many roles to an individual; it does not stick to a few. It depends upon an individual to select what role he/she is interested in. There are four types of Journalism- Print Journalism, Online/Digital Journalism, Electronic/Broadcast Journalism, and Radio Journalism. Now, it’s completely up to a person to decide what role he/she opts for.

become a journalist in India career path

I belong to Print and Online Journalism and that is really challenging for one. From covering an event to writing it in your own way and then publishing it, takes a lot of hard work, research work, etc. I have covered almost all sorts of beats, from tech stories to celebrity interviews to chef interviews to food reviews. And to cover all those, it requires knowledge, passion, creativity, confidence to ask questions, observance, out-of-the-box thinking, etc.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Difference between Content Writer, Copywriter & Reporter
1.2 Is Journalism a Good Career?
2.1 Courses Taken
2.2 Entrance Exams
2.3 Academic Qualifications/ Options
2.4 License Required
2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
2.7 Competition
2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Journalists
2.9 Governing Bodies
3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions
3.2 Companies & Institutions That Employ Journalists
3.3 Growth Prospects
3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
3.5 Salary Range
4.1 Top Universities in India
4.2 Top Universities in World
4.3 Famous Personalities
4.4 Useful Links

1.1 Is Journalism a Good Career?

It is an excellent career option, mostly for those who love to take new challenges on daily basis! If you are determined and want to live your life full of surprises, then be a journalist and make it your profession. This profession will not only give you satisfaction but also fame and you can be in a super high position after some experience. For example, you can go on to become a feature writer, editor, special reporter, and much more.

1.2 Difference between Content Writer, Copywriter & Reporter

People often get confused with these two terms – content writing and copywriting.

Content writing– A content writer aims to inform, educate, entertain or instruct readers. Their main objective is to give authentic information. The style of content is usually in long forms, although that depends on the publication and the genre. Content writers basically write articles, blogs, and content for social media. A proper content writer should have a great knowledge of SEO. Usually, they contribute to a long-term strategy.

Copywriting– Copywriters aim to sell the target audience to your brand. The main goal in copywriting is to persuade. Its style of copy is usually different. Copywriters write copy for ads online and offline. At times, copywriters are also employed by e-commerce companies to write/edit shopping-related articles. A good copywriter understands SEO. The effectiveness of their work can be measured in a short form.

different journalism professions

Other than content writer and copywriter, there are more professions in the journalism industry like:

Desk reporting– Desk reporting is something where an individual works on the desk, but when an event comes up, then the person themselves are responsible to cover an event and file the story. It does not happen on a frequent basis. Desk reporters manage other tasks as well. For example, if a person belongs to online media, then he or she has to manage websites, social media, and other things as well.

Reporting– A reporter is only responsible to cover the stories and files. He or she deals with these things on a frequent basis. Sometimes a reporter does not get time to edit their stories so they pass to the editor and the editor manages the rest.

2. How to Become a Journalist in India?

In order to know how to become a journalist in India, let’s see what are the various steps needed to acquire a journalism degree, and how to get a job from there.

2.1.1 Subjects Taken in School

Any stream + English & Computers

In order to become a journalist in India, your career path starts with higher secondary studies, where you can go for any of your favorite streams (science, commerce, or arts). If you wish to go for a career in journalism covering a specific genre like business or medical science, it’ll be a good idea to take up those related subjects in school.

You need to be well versed in language as well, so your English needs to be really strong. Taking up a computer course is also a good idea as you may need to be involved in SEO work if you end up working in digital media.

2.1.2 Courses Taken in College: Journalism Subjects

Media studies, literature & politics

So let’s see what to study to become a journalist. Opting for journalism as a career, one does not need to be specific in their graduation because you can pursue anything whatever you want to in your college but be focused on what you are choosing for. One needs to be creative.

What is the path to becoming a journalist? If a student can opt for a degree in Mass Communication with their grades, then it’s absolutely fine. But it’s better to go for either a degree in Journalism or English honors because these two subjects will give you knowledge about art and literature. They will enhance your communication as well as your writing skills.

The subjects you need to become a journalist are mainly:

  • Creative writing
  • Politics
  • Media studies
  • English literature
  • Economics
  • History.

However, if you choose Mass Communication, your subjects may be different.

2.2 Entrance Exams

It depends upon institution to an institution because most of the colleges do have entrance exams like the Indian Institute of Mass communication and so on.

But not all colleges have such criteria. If one needs to opt for journalism, then a student can get admission to a private institute, but only after clearing a test and interview round. The admission criteria for most private colleges are percentage in 10+2, with a minimum of 50%.

2.3 Academic Qualifications

Bachelor of Mass Communication (BMC); BJ (Bachelor of Journalism); B.A. in English honors

To pursue a journalism course, you need to have a minimum qualification of 10+2, that is higher secondary education. Then, you can go for a degree in Mass Communication, either in bachelor’s or in masters. You can also do a BJ (Bachelor of Journalism) or a B.A. in Journalism. Another option is to go for a Bachelor’s degree in Arts (B.A.) in English honors.

You can also become a journalist after graduation, by doing a master’s degree in Mass Communication. Or you can simply build a good writing portfolio and find an internship with a publishing house. However, companies will usually give preference to someone with a related college degree.

2.4 License Required

Yes.

Yes, once a journalist completes five years in the media, then the government issues him/her a certified license.

how to become a journalist in India

2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required

Yes, highly recommended.

Many colleges make an internship mandatory in the final year when pursuing a Bachelor of Mass Communication (BMC). The internship gives you basic knowledge about the profession, how it works, and also it prepares you to be a good journalist. And also, it makes you aware of what the media is all about and how a journalist should be. Journalists need to be neutral and authentic while presenting facts.

And if you have completed your internship program, there are high chances that the company will hire you for full-time employment.

2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training

₹ 2-5 lakhs.

Well, again it depends upon the college you enter. If you want to study in a government college, then definitely it does not cost you much. However, if you are looking for a sophisticated private institution of mass communication, then it costs you approximately 2-4 lakhs for the whole program.

And if you wish to study abroad then you should choose countries like the USA, Spain or Fiji. Their complete tuition fees will be approximately around 20-25 lacs.

2.7 Competition & Scope for Journalists in India

Moderately high for good colleges & extremely high in the field.

Competition is certainly tough and challenging when it comes to getting admission in media courses, as there are thousands of journalism institutions and there are lakhs of candidates who want to opt for their career in it.

In the field, the competition is fierce if you wish to be successful, especially with the limited jobs available in the top media & publishing companies, both in print and digital media. One really needs to think out of the box to compete with others.

2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Journalists

21-22 years.

here’s no specific age to start a career in this field, but as soon as you finish your higher secondary school, you can get admission in the journalism or mass comm. course. The programs are 3-4 years long, and right after graduating from those, you can get a job.

2.9 Governing Bodies

PCI

The Press Council of India (PCI) is a legal, adjudicating organization in India established by parliament in 1966. It is the self-regulatory guard of the press, for the press and by the press, that is operated under the Press Council Act of 1978.

right to write journalist license pci

3. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for Journalists

3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions

Anchors, desk reporters, content writers

So let’s see what kind of jobs you can get with a journalism degree. In the profession of journalism, there are so many career paths to choose from. These also include alternative careers for journalists, for example:

  • Correspondent
  • Anchor
  • News Producer
  • Content writer
  • Copywriter
  • Reporter
  • Desk reporter
  • Assistant Producer
  • Social media manager
  • Graphic designer

You can choose one of these journalism jobs or your career interest once you have some experience, or right out of college.

3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Journalists

Media companies; PR agencies

Media companies and publishing houses are the top employers of journalists. Most of them are privately owned companies. Some examples include the Times group, Zee Entertainment, Hearst media, etc.  Journalists can also tie up with PR agencies for covering their stories.

journalism interests various paths

3.3 Growth Prospects

Senior Correspondent, Editor-in-Chief

With experience, definitely an individual grows not just in media but in any profession. For instance, a Reporter can become a Senior Correspondent. Then after a few years, they can become a Senior Editor, Features editors, and so on. Finally, they can become the Chief Sub-Editor or Editor-in-Chief. In their senior years, they may also get a seat on the board of the company, and so on.

Is journalism a good paying career? true stories new editors reporters

3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Definitely.

Yes, after having an ample amount of experience, if an individual wants then he/she can start their own news agency, maybe a website or a channel, the choice is up to them. It all depends on where they can create new ideas, or do innovation with fresh talent.

3.5 What is the Salary of Journalists in India?

₹ 4 to 10 lacs per annum.

Journalism career salary in India is not a huge amount initially. However, only with experience and knowledge, it can increase over time. For example, if you have 5-10 years of experience, then you get around 35-50k monthly or 4-6 lacs per annum.

4. Further Resources

4.1 Top Universities in India

For the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, the top colleges in India are:

  1. Indian Institute of Mass Communication
  2. Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, Pune
  3. Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  4. University of Delhi
  5. Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
  6. Amity University, Noida
  7. Asian College of Journalism, Chennai

4.2 Top Universities in World

You can find many universities. However; these are some of the top universities to become a journalist studying from experienced faculties:

  1. Newcastle University, UK.
  2. King’s College London, UK.
  3. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
  4. The University of Melbourne, Australia
  5. Ryerson University, Canada
  6. Northwestern University, Illinois
  7. NYU

4.3 Famous Personalities

Sagarika Ghosh, Rajeev Masand.

Now that you know how to become a journalist in India, you can take inspiration from few personalities who are well known in this field. Some well-known journalists include Sagarika Ghosh, Anupama Chopra, Rajeev Masand, Barkha Dutt, and many more. These are some famous people from the journalism field that are in different professions, for example, film critics, food critics, journalists, etc.

challenging career path journalist

So, that was our complete guide about how to become a journalist in India. However, we know, in each and every profession hard work, focus and determination are required to achieve success. And journalism is a profession that not only honors you but also gives you satisfaction. It’s full of surprises every day.

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Curated & Edited by Aayushi Berawala (CareerNuts Staff)

Read next:

Journalism Career Path: Is Journalism a Good Career?

For the creative & opinionated, the media industry offers many exciting career options. Experienced journalist Shalini Pathak discusses all about the journalism career path to help you decide if it’s the right one for you.

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