How do I become a reporter

What does everyday work look like?

10:00 a.m

Your working day as a journalist starts comparatively late, because the first news only comes in when the day really starts for most citizens. In the morning you browse the newspapers and do research online for current topics.

11:00 o'clock

The editorial meeting is coming up, in which you propose topics that you want to write about. In addition, the editor-in-chief determines which events the editorial team must report on.

12:00 o'clock

You start with the research. You collect the most important information about your article topic, find experts and ask interview requests.

14:00 clock

Now you start reporting on site. You attend the agreed interview appointments with the topic experts, ask important sources and take the appropriate photos.

4 p.m.

When you get back to the editorial office, you immediately get to work on the article. You organize your existing information and write it down within the lines given by the editor-in-chief. Then one of your colleagues will edit your contribution.

6:30 p.m.

Finished! Your article is ready for tomorrow's issue. You talk to the responsible layouter and express your wishes regarding the design of the text. Then it goes to the well-deserved evening.


  • Sense of language
  • Correct spelling and grammar
  • Organized and focused way of working
  • A feeling for topics and trends
  • Interest in different media formats

What does a journalist do?

While you tend to work with daily news agency reports for daily newspapers or news portals, getting information from local newspapers, magazines or information portals is more important. Here you use various sources, for example the Internet, press releases or city programs, to find new article topics or to find information for stories that are already in progress. Especially with investigative articles, it is important that you look at different perspectives and uncover as yet unknown sources through intensive research.
Selecting the important information is, of course, only half the battle. Once you have gathered the necessary facts, you can formulate them into a finished message or article, depending on the medium of your choice. This can be a multi-page story in a weekend newspaper, a short message for an Internet portal or a script for a radio report that will be recorded later. Your work usually has one of three goals: It should either reproduce events, explain complex relationships or bring still unknown facts to light.
Regardless of whether you're capturing voices in sports after the game, asking musicians about their new album or cross-examining local politicians on the city council's most controversial topics: Interviews are part of everyday journalism. These are not always the long question-and-answer rounds that you know from the media. Individual statements that you weave into the reporting are usually preceded by short interviews. The right questioning technique is therefore part of the regular repertoire of a good journalist.
When many people think of the term journalist, they first think of the frenzied reporter from the local newspaper. But journalists are not only out and about in print editors around the world, but also online, on TV and on the radio. Employees with additional technical knowledge are becoming more popular with publishers and editorial offices. As a modern journalist, you not only write articles, but also often take the appropriate photos. You are out and about with the video camera for TV reports or web videos. On the radio or for podcasts, you not only create your texts, you also speak them yourself. And especially with smaller companies, you are actively involved in the layout of the print output.

What are the job prospects?

Your career prospects as a journalist depend heavily on the medium you choose. The classic print editorial offices are shrinking because printed newspapers and magazines are finding fewer and fewer readers or are leaving the market. On the other hand, online journalism is booming, to which numerous publishers are shifting their core business. In addition, many companies have recognized the advantages of content marketing and rely on their own blogs, guides or magazines for their products. Versatile editors who, in addition to journalistic knowledge, have technical skills for creating images and sound or in the area of ​​design and layout are particularly in demand.

What qualities should I have?

    What specializations are there?

    Whether football, ice hockey or basketball: top-class sport in Germany is more popular than ever. In sports journalism, you specialize in critical reporting in this market. You interview players and officials, report live on major events and keep the fans up to date about their favorites. Analytical and investigative articles are also needed here to explain how certain mechanisms work in sport or to uncover deficiencies in the structures. However, you can just as easily sit on the other side of the microphone and work for a sports marketer or in the PR department of a club.
    The basic training of a departmental journalist is not that different from the normal further training in journalism. After that, however, you will focus on a certain department and continue your education there to become an expert. For example, you can primarily write articles for the politics department or specialize in the features section. Departmental journalism is therefore well suited for career changers who have received training appropriate to the subject area. After completing your cultural studies degree, for example, you will have ideal qualifications for the cultural department of a weekly magazine.
    As an online journalist, you write your articles primarily for the web. You use so-called content management systems to enter articles on news portals or in online magazines. You write advice articles that you optimize for search engine queries using important keywords, but you also use other media for your journalistic work. Whether web videos or podcasts: Companies demand a lot more from their online journalists than just conjuring up letters on the screen.


    • Career opportunities in the radio, TV, online and print sectors
    • Numerous department and topic specializations possible
    • Also suitable for career changers
    • Journalists with additional technical skills are particularly in demand

    Did you already know, that ...

    • ... in the USA there is often still a division between reporter and editor? While reporters are responsible for the research, the editors write the texts. In Germany, the journalist usually does this in personal union.
    • ... the Wiener Zeitung is the oldest daily newspaper in the world that still exists? It left the printing press for the first time in 1703.
    • ... a journalism student and his professor in the USA were able to save an innocent convicted person from death 50 hours before his execution by means of well-researched evidence?

    These celebrities are journalists too

    Brad Pitt - actor

    Admittedly, Brad Pitt is not a prime example. After all, he broke off his journalism studies after a short time, bad bad, again. We are happy to turn a blind eye to his great films. (Image: © Georges Biard / CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons))

    Karl Marx - social theorist

    Before he became the leader of the socialist movement in Europe, Karl Marx worked as a journalist. His employer had to close after a year due to a ban on the newspaper. The subsequent move to France brought Marx the acquaintance of Friedrich Engels. The rest is history. (Image: © John Jabez Edwin Mayall / Gemeinfrei (via Wikimedia Commons))

    Günther Jauch - moderator

    Mr. Jauch didn't always ask nasty questions to poor candidates. He actually started his academic career as a law student, but then applied at the same time to a journalism school. He was accepted, completed his studies in journalism and started as a sports journalist. (Image: © Jakob Gehrmann / CC BY 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons))

    What speaks for the job

    1. As a journalist, you can expect a wide range of tasks and constantly new topics.
    2. Not only do you write, but you can use different media such as videos, pictures or audio contributions.
    3. The online area continues to grow. Many companies now offer their own guides and blogs.
    4. You can also become a journalist without studying, for example through an internship, a Volo or starting as a freelancer.

    What speaks against the job

    1. Classic print journalism continues to decline.
    2. For the most part, you no longer research current topics yourself, but sort and take over agency reports.
    3. Due to the large number of applicants, vacancies are highly competitive.

    Starting salary as a journalist

    At the start of your career as a journalist, you can expect a starting salary of between € 2,700 ¹ and € 3,200 ¹ gross per month. Depending on whether your employer is organized in an association, you will receive remuneration according to the collective agreement. If you are looking for a traineeship before a permanent position, your salary during the volunteer period will be on average between € 1,000 ¹ and € 2,000 ¹ gross per month. Often the remuneration is staggered over several years of training.
    • journalist2.700 €¹
    • editor1.500 €¹

    Salary based on work experience

    With professional experience of 3 to 5 years, your earnings as a journalist amount to around € 3,400 ¹ gross per month. If you have been working in the profession for more than 10 years, it is around € 4,500 ¹. In the journalistic area, your salary is also based on whether you work for print, online or television formats and how big the company you work for is.

    Salary based on work experience

    With professional experience of 3 to 5 years, your earnings as a journalist amount to around € 3,400 ¹ gross per month. If you have been working in the profession for more than 10 years, it is around € 4,500 ¹. In the journalistic area, your salary is also based on whether you work for print, online or television formats and how big the company you work for is.

    Salary by state

    The east-west divide is also reflected in the journalist profession. While you earn salaries between € 3,600 ¹ and € 4,410 ¹ gross monthly in the old federal states, the pay in the east of the republic is € 3,100 ¹ to € 3,820 ¹ per month. Since rents and living costs vary depending on the federal state, you don't necessarily have less left from a lower salary at the end of the month.