Yap, Andrew - Journalist

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[edit] Print Journalist (Andrew Yap)

[edit] General Overview

Print journalism is an incredibly dynamic profession that offer a wide range of career possibilities varying from news or investigative reporting to editorial commentary. Service Canada lists Journalists under the National Occupational Classification of unit group 5123 and provide some examples of occupational titles such as Journalist, Correspondent, Investigative Reporter, News Commentator, Columnist and Book Reviewer. [1]

The duties of a print journalist are to research and gather information on current events either local, national or international and present that information to the public in a clear and engaging manner. [2] Print journalists may be expected to gather research for their work through various means such as online research articles or conducting interviews with persons of interest. [3] The medium that print journalists use when presenting their stories and/or findings is often found in the form of newspapers and magazines. [1] A challenging responsibility among many print journalists is ensuring that the writings they choose to publish for the public are accurate, truthful and impartial. [3]

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities

The specific types of duties and responsibilities of a print journalist vary greatly in regards to both the work schedule as well as types of topics they may be expected to present.[4] The primary duty of print journalists is to conduct research and gather information on current events that have happened either locally, nationally or internationally around the world and present that information to the general public in order to keep them informed. [2] The information used by journalists can be gathered by using several different methods. Some of these methods can include interviewing persons of interest or are relevant to the story/topic, researching the internet for journal articles or social media posts that relate to the story/topic, and/or participating actively as a member of a community of interest that can provide insight on the story/ topic. [5]

Another major duty for print journalists is writing about the story/topic that they chose or were assigned so that they can be published in newspapers or magazines to be distributed to the general public. [6] Other tasks expected of a print journalist can include determining that the information used for a story came from credible sources and collecting photos or videos that can be used to support the information in the article and make it more appealing to readers.[6]

Similar to most other positions in journalism, print journalists can expect irregular work schedules and long hours. [3] This also includes the possibility of being expected to work on evenings, weekends and even public holidays alongside the normal work days depending on the deadlines assigned and the current events that occur. [4] The types of topics that may be assigned to print journalists also vary widely depending on the stories they are assigned to by their editors or the material that they themselves may desire to write about independently. The types of stories that print journalists may be given could include, but are not limited to, local events, health issues, sports, politics and finance.

[edit] Typical Workday

The typical workday of a print journalist often varies from day to day due to the lack of a fixed work schedule and the odd distribution of working hours and the story being pursued. [3]

According to Murray Brewster, a reporter from Halifax working for the Canadian Press there are no typical work days being a journalist as the assignments each day can be different. One day may be spent working in an office working on a standard reporting shift and the next day may be spent rushing to the scene of a tense and dangerous situation like a fatal helicopter accident.[7]

Although there is great variation in the work experiences of print journalists there are still aspects of their work that remain constant.[3] The general tasks that can be expected from a more standard work day for a print journalist could involve interviewing persons of interest from a recent event, attending press conferences to ask questions about the topics being discussed, using their phone at the office building contacts that may be needed for future stories and to receive information on details regarding potential new events as well as researching and writing articles on the chosen or assigned events/topics that will be published online or in the newspaper. [8]

Even excluding the potential spontaneous events that may occur, such as, natural disasters, medical breakthroughs and murders, print journalists still have odd and varied work hours due to the demanding deadlines of their assigned report topics and their scheduling with new contacts to gather information for future articles. [3]

[edit] Educational Requirements and Other Qualifications

A career in print journalism does not have specific training requirements in order to obtain employment. [1] When looking at Service Canada (2013), there is no mention of a licensing requirement in order to work as a journalist in Canada. [1] It is however a requirement to have a bachelor’s degree from any field before applying for work. [1] It should be noted however that the difficulty in getting into journalism is higher when using a degree unrelated to the journalism field such as a degree in science or political science. [9] According to the National Occupational Classification from Statistics Canada, it is often a requirement to have a university or college degree in journalism or a similar field of study such as communications in order to be eligible to pursue a career in journalism. [2]

Although there does not appear to be any evidence notable differences in the required qualifications between provinces, some employers may desire applicants to be fluent in writing and speaking French.[10] Since Canada acknowledges both English and French as its official languages, there are many communities that are predominantly French-speaking, most notably in parts of Quebec, which would prefer news articles to be presented in French rather than English.

Universities and Colleges in Ontario that offer programs in obtaining degrees in journalism include: Ryerson University, Carleton University, Centennial College, Niagara College and Seneca College. More complete lists for finding colleges and universities to earn a journalism degree can be found at the following sites:

When seeking opportunities to gain first-hand experience or to improve qualifications, seasonal and full year internships are provided by many news companies such as the Toronto Star. This can provide individuals interested in pursuing a career in print journalism a chance to observe print journalists at work and even complete general news assignments. [13]

[edit] Related Skills, Interests and Abilities

Print journalists are required to have strong research and analytical skills because in order to obtain information when writing about a particular topic or event, it is important for a print journalist to be able to gather information from various sources like interviews and research articles. In addition, it is important for the journalist to be able to extract the most important points from these sources, determine which information is the most accurate about the topic or event and incorporate it when they write their article. According to an article from The Art Career Project, one of the main responsibilities in journalism is being able to investigate and gather information on the particular topic or event and be able to extract the main points to be included in the article.[14]

Another important skill that print journalists require are strong written communication skills. This skill is important because in order to be successful as a print journalist it is necessary to be able to present the information gathered from an event or topic in a way that is clear, concise and easy to be understood by the general public. In order to be successful at this task, skill in using word processing programs is usually mandatory, along with having a near-perfect understanding of both grammar and spelling. [9]

Print journalists are also required to have strong verbal communication and interpersonal skills. These skills are important because in order to properly gather information from people during interviews in is important to have the ability to ask good questions that are relevant to improving your understanding of the topic or event as well as be patient and attentive to the information given before writing the article. [9]

[edit] Relevance of Psychology Undergraduate Degree

There are several reasons why the skills and knowledge obtained from earning an undergraduate degree in psychology can be relevant in a career as a print journalist. One reason is the knowledge obtained from learning to analyze and interpret statistical information. Courses that focus on topics such as statistics and research design and psychological measurement and personality instruct students on concepts involving understanding statistical information presented in psychology journal articles. The knowledge obtained from these courses can be useful as a print journalist when examining statistical information from journal articles or current events that may have been selected to be posted in the newspaper. Being able to examine and understand the data may provide new insights on the implications or accuracy of the study or event prior to writing about it.

An undergraduate degree can be relevant to a print journalist because of the learned theories behind motivations and drives. Through attending courses that explore the mechanisms and processes that influence human behaviour such as human motivation and learning, a print journalist can apply these theories to alter or enhance the quality of their writing and headlines in a format that is more enticing and appealing to readers and draw in a larger audience. This can be done by utilizing titles that emphases the severity or importance of the topic and/or by presenting the information of the article in a way that is concise and is fairly easy to understand so as not to deter readers with terminology that may be too difficult to understand.

A career in print journalism can also benefit from an undergraduate degree due to the knowledge obtained from taking courses on various psychological disorders.These can include courses that involve studying abnormalities in the brain or potential health risks that can impact early childhood development. The skills learned from attending these courses can be applied when a print journalist is assigned to work on reports that focus on events or topics regarding mental health. The knowledge learned from a psychology degree can be applied to help provide insight on subtle details or to notice possible inconsistencies when gathering research and performing interviews regarding the topic and produce more accurate papers on the subject of mental health.

[edit] Salary Potential

The earnings of a journalist can range greatly. According to PayScale Canada (2015), the national hourly rate for journalists can range from approximately $9.89 to $29.48 per hour with a median hourly rate of $17.00 [15] The annual salary for journalists can range from $23,790 to $69, 577 with a median annual salary of $41,319.[16] One of the reasons that may explain the broad range in pay may be due to level of experience. [16] Another reason that may explain the broad range in pay is location as each province in Canada pays a slightly different wage. [16]

The most recent data available on average wages for journalists in 2011 suggest that major cities in provinces like New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are among the provinces with the lowest paying wages with averages of $20.45, $21.77 and $22.33 an hour respectively. [17] Meanwhile, major cities in provinces like British Columbia, Alberta and more recently in 2013, Quebec, have been found to be among the provinces who have the highest average wages with averages of $28.57, $23.42 and $28.00 per hour respectively. [17]

[edit] Job Outlook

The current employment prospects for a career in journalism are considered to be fair. [1] According to Service Canada (2013), there have been signs of a decline in the number of journalists after its initial sharp rise prior to the year 2000.[1]

In an article from the Vancouver Sun, the author presented data from Statistics Canada on the number of journalists between the years 2001 and 2011 showing a relatively stable number of around 13,000 journalists currently working each year. [18] The author of the article however noted several possible issues with the accuracy of the data presented. Some of these issues include the inaccurate collection of census information and the lack of clarity in differentiating between full-time journalists and free-lance journalists who work short-term contracts. [18]

Service Canada provides further support to the decrease in job availability from its most recent posting in 2013 where it explains how the new opportunities for employment are no longer able to compensate for the loss of jobs from recent job reductions and mergers and suggests that the prospects for employment in journalism may become even lower in later years. [1]

[edit] To Know More

For an opportunity to join a community of journalists both new and experienced in order to help build connections and learn about issues regarding journalism in Canada visit:

--Ay10aw 04:18, 27 March 2015 (EDT)

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Canada. (2013). Journalists. Service Canada People Serving People, Retrieved from http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/qc/job_futures/statistics/5123.shtml
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Canada. (2011). National occupational classification (noc). Statistics Canada, Retrieved from http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVDDetail&db=imdb&dis=2&adm=8&TVD=122372&CVD=122376&CPV=5123&CST=01012011&MLV=4&CLV=4&CHVD=
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Journalist Job Description. (2015). Journalist job description. Journalism Degree, Retrieved from http://www.journalismdegree.com/journalist-job-description/
  4. 4.0 4.1 Newspaper journalist. (2012). Newspaper journalist. National Career Service, Retrieved from https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/newspaperjournalist.aspx
  5. ASNE American Society of News Editors. (2015). News gathering & reporting. SchoolJournalism.org, Retrieved from http://www.schooljournalism.org/news-gathering-tips/
  6. 6.0 6.1 MyMajors. (n.d.). What print journalists do. Print Journalist Career, Retrieved from http://www.mymajors.com/career/print-journalist/
  7. Careers at the Canadian Press. (n.d.). Careers at the canadian press. The Canadian Press, Retrieved from http://www.thecanadianpress.com/about_cp.aspx?id=81
  8. Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services AGCAS. (2013). Newspaper journalist. Prospects, Retrieved from http://www.prospects.ac.uk/newspaper_journalist_job_description.htm
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Christensen, M. (2015). Job requirements to be a print journalist. Hearst Newspapers, Retrieved from http://work.chron.com/job-requirements-print-journalist-1098.html
  10. Bell . (2015). Journaliste - nrj 104.1 & rougefm 94,9 gatineau. recruit.net, Retrieved from http://www.recruit.net/job/journaliste--_montreal-qc_jobs/97B52B32038D42FF?source=simplyhired&utm_source=simplyhired&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=organic_ca
  11. Journalism programs at ontario colleges. (n.d.). Ontariocolleges.ca, Retrieved from http://www.ontariocolleges.ca/SearchResults/MEDIA-JOURNALISM/_/N-lovp
  12. Journalism education in canada. (2006). Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication, Retrieved from http://http-server.carleton.ca/~mmcguire/J-Ed/j-prog/u-programs.shtml
  13. Star Internships. (2014). star internships. The Star, Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/about/starinternships.html
  14. What is Journalism?. (2014). What is journalism?. The Art Career Project, Retrieved from http://www.theartcareerproject.com/journalism-careers/1303/
  15. PayScale, Inc. (2015). Journalist salary (canada). PayScale Human Capital, Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Journalist/Salary
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Journalist Salary. (2015). Journalist salary (canada). PayScale Human Capital, Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Journalist/Salary
  17. 17.0 17.1 Living in Canada. (2015). Journalist salary canada. Living in Canada, Retrieved from http://www.livingin-canada.com/salaries-for-journalists.html
  18. 18.0 18.1 Skelton, C. (2013). No fewer journalists today than 10 years ago: Statistics canada. The Vancouver Sun, Retrieved from http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2013/08/19/no-fewer-journalists-today-than-10-years-ago-statistics-canada/
  19. The canadian association of journalists . (2014). Retrieved from http://www.caj.ca/
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