Working in Publishing and Journalism involves creating products that will inform and entertain people.

There are career opportunities available in:

  • Editorial work - deciding and overseeing the style and scope of the content that will be produced in addition to researching, writing and checking content to match the brief
  • Design and visual work - presenting information in a creative, consistent and visually stimulating way, through photography, animation and layout
  • Production work - using technical skills to produce the finished product, such as printing magazines, editing film footage, or recording and mixing sounds
  • Management - overseeing the commercial aspects, such as collecting royalty payments, sales and marketing, planning schedules, or commissioning authors or other freelance staff
  • Journalism - researching and writing content for a publication.

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Also see our career sector summaries on Media and Broadcasting and Creative Arts and Design

Jobs and Salaries


Want a challenging and exciting career with the potential to get your voice heard internationally? Find out if you have what it takes.

Find the Chartered Institute of Journalists on Facebook to keep up to date with news, workshops and campaigns.


Want to find out what copywriting is and who they work for? Read here.

Editing and proofreading

Roles vary from commissioning editors who bring together books and articles for publishers, to picture editors who find pictures for various media products, to magazine editors who write features for a magazine or work freelance for more than one.

But as the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA) tell us it's not just about print - 15% of the industry is now delivering editorial digitally.

As the trend goes towards the majority of people reading their news and features online, the industry has had to respond by providing innovative ways of making this possible. Writing content for online products is on the up and can vary from scientific journals to blogs to e-news and e-zines. If you’re more interested in the design of the websites themselves, have a look at our IT sector information.


The role of an indexer should not be underestimated; computer simulated indexes cannot live up to the work of a professional indexer. Find out here why indexes are important and what makes a good index.

Read what 5 award winning indexers have to say about their careers.

  • Salaries vary enormously as many professionals in this sector work freelance, with some working for a chosen company. The starting salary is relatively low in journalism, rising to an average salary of £24,500, as reported by the National Union of Journalists.

Many writers do their work as a second job, and it is often more of a case of following a passion and making money elsewhere. However there are standards set by The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain as to how much large organisations should pay writers.

Editing can earn big money, particularly at the high commissioning end.

Routes and qualifications

Most journalists go to university to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. However take a look at this information on routes into journalism.

Want to get into publishing? Find out how, and about career progression in publishing.

Find accredited courses by type and region. Get advice and information on training and the NUJ’s courses, designed to help meet the demands of journalism in the digital age.

Thinking about becoming an accredited Editor or Proofreader? Read about the qualifications and training courses you can take that will lead you to accreditation.

Interested in picture research and editing? Read about courses available on the Picture Research Association’s site.

Find out what it takes to become an indexer through the Society of Indexers’ distance learning programme.

Funding and support

As you will probably need a degree to get started in this sector, although not necessarily, check out the pages on student finance from, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.

The Broadcast Journalism Training Council provide information about sponsorship and bursaries available to aspiring and training journalists.

Publishers in Wales can apply to the Welsh Books Council for grants for Welsh-language publications.

What’s it really like working in this sector?

We have a selection of career videos from people working in publishing and journalism.

  • Many jobs in this sector require early starts and late finishes, day, evening, night and weekend working. Long hours may be required to meet deadlines.
  • Although most jobs are office based, many require travel to meet clients, conduct interviews and research articles.
  • Employers range from very small companies to large organisations with thousands of employees. Many people in this sector are self-employed and work on a freelance basis.

How many jobs are there in this sector?

  • In England, around 500,000 people work in the creative media sectors, over a quarter of which are freelancers. The printing industry employs around 150,000 people, while a further 66,000 work in the literary arts. Competition for many roles is intense: think about doing a work placement or internship to gain valuable experience and show your commitment.

Location, location, location 

There are opportunities throughout the UK, although national newspapers, magazines, broadcasting companies and many publishing companies tend to be based in major cities, particularly London. Freelancers and employees working on specific projects in media, photography and journalism may be required to travel anywhere in the UK, or even overseas, for work.

Will a career in this sector suit me?

  • Employers often value creativity, teamwork and good communication and presentation skills.
  • There are no set entry requirements for many jobs but, because entry is so competitive, applicants with relevant qualifications are likely to have an advantage, many media professionals are graduates. A number of Universities also offer the opportunity to undertake postgraduate qualifications in journalism.
  • Often, junior positions are filled by graduate interns who hope to gain work experience and make useful contacts. 
  • Applicants in this sector need to have perseverance and commitment to succeed. 
  • Relevant work experience which is often unpaid, can be a vital step to finding paid employment in this sector.