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Do I Need a Degree to Succeed in Journalism?

The short answer is no. Luckily, freelance journalism is one of the most cosmopolitan and democratic professions. It does not matter what your background, as long as you are prepared to work hard and love to write then you have the potential to become a freelance journalist.

And, in theory, anyone can call themselves a freelance journalist, as there are no qualifications needed to enter the profession. What’s more important to an editor is your experience, ideas and a good writing portfolio.

What Skills Do I Need to be a Freelance Journalist?

However, despite a university degree in media studies or the like being unnecessary, there are some skills that are essential if you are to make it as a freelance journalist. You’ll need to have a good understanding of English including good:

  • grammar
  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • syntax


You also need to be confident with words, as these will be what you’ll use to make your living. However, if you feel that you are lacking in these areas, don’t worry – they can be easily learnt. It is also wise to take a course to learn the practicalities and basics of freelance journalism and the publishing trade. Otherwise, it will be pretty obvious to any seasoned editor – from the way you approach them with ideas to the way you set out your work – that you are a novice.

Do I Have What it Takes?

If you’re prepared to:

  • write stories and articles that publishers want
  • put in the hard work needed
  • stick to deadlines
  • be professional
  • work odd hours


you have all the ingredients needed to become a freelance journalist.

If you want to find out more about being a freelance journalist request your free Writers Bureau Freelance Journalism prospectus today!


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Cathal Coyle

"My short-term intention is to continue combining writing for newspapers and magazines with my current job. I'm enjoying my writing 'sideline' but I may find as time goes on that I want to make the transition to full-time writer."

Cathal Coyle


Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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