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What qualifications do I need to become a Freelance Journalist?

What’s so great about writing is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or in this case the proof of being a journalist is in a publisher liking the article enough to publish it. Once that happens you can legitimately call yourself a freelance journalist, whether you have any formal qualifications or not. Luckily, journalism is a cosmopolitan profession, with people from all backgrounds making their way into successful careers. So, the answer to the question What qualifications do I need to become a Freelance Journalist is; none!

But What About Journalism Degrees?

As we’ve said above, publishers are not interested in what qualifications you might have. Getting a degree in journalism or media studies may give you some insight into how the world of freelance newspaper journalism works and what will be expected of you, but it will not make you a good journalist. However, if you are a talented writer and have a nose for an interesting story, you can easily learn about the goings on at newspapers. This knowledge will help make sure you send your work to the correct person, in the correct format and, more importantly, at the correct time. This stops you looking like a complete novice, which always helps when trying to get work published.

Some of the things you do need to be a Freelance Journalist

Don’t think that not needing a university degree in journalism or media studies means that you don’t need any skills. There are some practical skills that are essential if you are to make it as freelance journalist. These include a good command of the English Language, including:

  • grammar
  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • syntax
  • vocabulary


It goes without saying that you’ll have to show that you are confident using words, as this will now be how you make your living.

What if I don’t have those Skills?

There’s no need to worry if you feel you need to brush up on your English skills. There are lots of places online where you can find information to help you. And, investing in a course to teach you about the inner workings of newspapers and the world of journalism is also a wise decision. You should make sure you are familiar with newspaper submissions etiquette before you start sending off your work for consideration. This will you help avoid looking like a novice to seasoned editors.

So, whether you have a degree or not, you can try your hand at freelance journalism. If you want to find out more about being a freelance journalist request a Writers Bureau Freelance Journalism prospectus.


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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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