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Five Unexpected Jobs in Journalism

Today is World Press Freedom Day, which celebrates the right to press and information freedom and commemorates journalists who have suffered and sacrificed to report on important issues. Freedom of information is a pressing topic, and new and emerging technologies, both for reporting and surveilling information, are changing the way that journalists work. But journalism is more than just reporting the news and media outlets around the world are embracing new and reinvigorating old aspects of the field. You don't need to be a hard-hitting foreign correspondent to make a big impact in the information era, and we've found five surprising careers that will put you in the headlines.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Student Tips
Five Unexpected Jobs in Journalism

The internet has irrevocably altered the way in which we access news, and emerging technology can both help and hinder the circulation of information. And while researching and writing news stories are still an important part of modern journalism, the industry has grown to include a range of opportunities for writers and techies alike. Here are five unexpected careers for those with a passion for information, a flare for writing, and a commitment to accuracy. Read on to find out more about the ever-growing world of journalism and professional information distribution.

1. Proofreader
Do you have an eye for details and a knack for grammar and punctuation? If so, a job in professional proofreading could be right for you. Proofreading can be a lot like copy editing, and in large publishing firms or media outlets, proofreading might be one of the responsibilities of the staff copy editor. But if you like independent work and thrive under self-management you could also consider a job as a freelance proofreader. Proofreaders work with writers and publishers to correct grammar and spelling mistakes, check for continuity and accuracy, and ensure that the written document adheres to style standards. Competency in grammar, spelling, and IT are musts, but as a freelance proofreader, you'll have flexibility and the chance to work on a variety of projects and across sectors. And best of all, you can work from just about anywhere!

Hand with Red Pen Proofreading a Manuscript Closeup

2. Community Manager
One of the most innovative aspects of digital news sources is that they allow readers to react and interact directly, and often instantaneously, with the information. But online community participation doesn't happen without some oversight and most online news outlets, internet communities, and social media pĺatforms employ some form of moderation to keep discussions civil, on-topic, and informative. That's where community managers come in. Community managers work to ensure that readers can engage with the information and community in meaningful ways. They also track feedback and participation in order to serve their community's needs. Community managers often have some business experience because they work simultaneously between marketing and publishing and need to strategize community and brand management.

Close-up Of Businessman Hands Protecting Paper Cutout People At Desk

3. Data Journalist
Although journalists have always employed numbers and statistics in their reporting, in recent years data journalism has become a field of its own within traditional journalism. Data journalists work with numerical information and statistics to identify trends and stories. The role of the data journalist has become increasingly important as digital technology often produces an overwhelming amount of big data. Data journalists sift through and evaluate this data, and then distill it into relevant and accessible forms. So, if you have a background in analytics, are a dab-hand at databases, and enjoy producing infographics and visualizations of information, you should consider a career as a data journalist.

Cubes with the text, NEWS, on spreadsheet

4. Content Producer
This position didn't exist in its current form before the internet became the information source for most of the world, but now that we're all wired in, websites of nearly every variety need to update constantly and enhance the information they provide, and content producers are the driving force behind web traffic. Whether you write copy for marketing sites, news articles for various genres, or even develop games, videos, or digital images a career as a content producer can play to your strengths. Travel agencies look for writers to promote destinations. Universities need content producers to produce attractive and relevant information for students and academics. Academic publications frequently seek out skilled writers for encyclopedias, collections, and textbooks. Corporations use content writers to enhance their brands. And, like proofreading and copy editing, content production can be either a staff or freelance position which gives you lots of options and opportunities.

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5. Business Writer
Many creative writing and English students begin their studies thinking that their career opportunities are limited to genre writing or journalism. But composition skills are valuable in a range of fields, and the business sector employs talented writers in a variety of ways. Business writers often work to develop and establish a brand style and to ensure that written communication throughout a business adheres to that style. But they also work on specific projects, like instruction manuals for products or corporate-standard contracts. Business writers are often experienced in specific fields, so a writing job in business could be the perfect way to combine your talent with words and other interests, like history, geology, or food science. And, again, some corporations have teams of full-time writers, while others employ freelancers so you can choose the kind of commitment and position that best suits your goals.

Beautiful freelancer working with a laptop in a desk at home room or office

Read more about studying journalism.