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I want to be a journalist. What will my salary be?

A passion for news and a flair for storytelling are key traits of journalists

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This story is part of the Globe Careers’ series looking at specific jobs, with their qualifications, descriptions, responsibilities and current salaries. For more, see our Salaries series.

Job: Journalist

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Salary:
Starting at $25,000 to $40,000 and can reach into six figures depending the role, such as editor-in-chief at a large daily newspaper or a TV news anchor.

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Education:
There are no educational requirements to be a journalist.
However, increasingly, many have a journalism diploma or a degree.
Employers are often looking for a mix of education and life experience.

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The Job:
The job of a journalist is to collect facts and information from various sources and present it to an audience, either in print, broadcast or online.
“At the heart of it, a journalist is a storyteller,” says Hugo Rodrigues, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

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Job Prospects:
Despite ongoing cutbacks in Canadian newsrooms: “Surprisingly, there are jobs out there for journalists,” says Mr. Rodrigues.
They may not be in the top cities, or at the pay level found in other professions, but he says jobs often come up due to high turnover.
Many are in smaller communities and available to those willing to juggle a number of roles.

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Challenges:
People slamming doors in your face, calling you “a bunch of maggots,” and only wanting to share information that makes them look good.
Mr. Rodrigues says constantly changing technology is also a challenge.
Journalists also face challenges getting information as governments and corporations are making “a more conscientious effort” to control information.

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Why they do it:
Many journalists love current events and being part of history, writing or being in front of a camera.
“These are people who enjoy being a storyteller,” through different media, says Mr. Rodrigues.
Other motivations include helping people tell their stories, or bringing issues to light that have an impact on society.

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Misconceptions:
That journalists are writing or telling stories to sell papers or gain viewers. “That’s the one that frustrates me the most,” says Mr. Rodrigues.
The majority of journalists don’t think about whether their story will “sell,” only if it will have an impact on their audience.

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Give us the real scoop:

Are you a journalist in Canada?

Write a note in the comments area and tell us what you would tell others who are interested in the profession, or e-mail your comment to careerquestion@globeandmail.com

Want to read more stories from our salaries series? Click here.

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