Junior Journalist

Occupation overview

Journalists bring people the news and information from their street, their community, their town or city and from around the world using a combination of words, pictures and moving images. They are able to work on their own competently and work without immediate supervision in generating and producing stories for publication and/or broadcast. At the successful completion of this apprenticeship, you will become a junior journalist.

Skills & Knowledge

Journalists will use their knowledge and skills to produce news and information for TV, radio, print and digital publications. These are the core skills for a junior journalist:

  • Know what a story is and how to carry out the necessary research and interviews;
  • Build and maintain a range of reliable contacts;
  • Create quality stories that are accurate, clear, vigorous, fair and balanced, in a form that will engage an audience;
  • Work in an ethical manner and in accordance with relevant codes of conduct and demonstrate integrity;
  • Be able to work on getting stories ‘right the first time’;
  • Demonstrate an ability to write and use good English to industry standard for all platforms;
  • Produce content for digital platforms, including video and photographic material;
  • Adept at using social media and digital platforms and techniques to source content, contacts and build an audience;
  • Be a good communicator; understand the importance and value of brands;
  • Connects with the audience they serve;
  • Work to tight deadlines;
  • Be technically proficient and able to understand/use web analytics;
  • Understand how society works;
  • Take and keep accurate notes and records;
  • Be able to gather, verify and make proper use of User Generated Content (UGC);
  • Be able to gather, use and present data;
  • Understand how the law affects the work of a journalist;
  • Adhere to relevant health and safety legislation in the workplace; and
  • Understand the ‘news business’ with a knowledge of emerging trends in the media industry.

Apprentices will follow one of the following pathways to gain the additional specialist skills:

For print and associated digital platforms, journalists must:

  • For most employers, write and accurately transcribe shorthand at 100 words per minute;
  • Edit copy and write headlines for publication on different platforms;
  • Take photographs suitable for publication;
  • Be able to report from a wide range of settings;
  • Research and write clear, accurate, compliant and engaging stories and features for newspapers, magazines and websites;
  • For some employers, be able to use data to contribute towards potential editorial content and strategies;
  • Have a good working knowledge of regulation as laid out in the editors’ code.
  • For TV/radio and associated digital platforms, journalists must:
  • Research and write clear, accurate, balanced, compliant and engaging stories for TV and radio;
  • For some employers, be able to write and accurately transcribe shorthand at 100 words per minute;
  • Understand the techniques of interviewing for broadcast and can conduct a simple broadcast interview themselves;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the basic techniques and technology of broadcast newsgathering, including the sourcing of material;
  • Have an awareness of the basic set-up of radio and television news studios, operate simple radio and television equipment, and be familiar with the language and terminology of a broadcast newsroom;
  • Show a good working knowledge of the key principles of broadcast regulation as laid out in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code; and BBC editorial guidelines.
  • For public relations (PR), corporate communications and associated digital platforms, journalists must:
  • Understand how journalism in PR and corporate communications differs from journalism in other sectors;
  • For some employers, be able to write and accurately transcribe shorthand at 100 words per minute;
  • Be able to prepare content for specific purposes (e.g. press releases, social media, brochures, exhibition boards);
  • Have a good understanding of the business (businesses) they work for;
  • Know the difference between outputs (e.g. press releases, social media etc.); and
  • Be able to act as a mediator and facilitator between the media and employer.


Journalists should have: a hard-working attitude; an inquiring mind; a lively interest in current affairs; an ability to write and use words accurately and with effect; persistence and determination; and a willingness to embrace change and accept unsocial working hours. They must be able to demonstrate commitment and desire to be a journalist. They must have professional attitudes to their job, how they present themselves for work and have an understanding of the diversity of their audience. They should also be: prepared to work shifts; conscientious; enthusiastic; resilient; a team player; have an ability and desire to carry out duties in accordance with the law, regulations and any appropriate codes of conduct; and have high personal standards in terms of discretion/confidentiality.

Entry Requirements 

Individual employers will identify any relevant entry requirements in terms of previous qualifications, training, work experience or other criteria. Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to completion of their apprenticeship.


We would expect a candidate coming onto this apprenticeship, without previous relevant experience, to typically take at least 18 months to complete the programme. This may be reduced if an apprentice is part-qualified or has relevant experience on entry.

Professional Qualifications / Recognition

This assessment will include the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism, an existing end-of programme assessment which is well-recognised and valued in the industry. The end-point assessment will cover the whole standard and will be graded pass, merit or distinction.

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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