Music journalists can be found working in a range of capacities such as newspapers, magazines and websites. They report on the latest developments in the music industry and write album and gig reviews. Some music journalists may write only for one publication, while others work freelance and write for a range of clients.
According to State University, most music journalists have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or marketing. Many journalists are required to build up a portfolio of work they have written. Potential music journalists should grab opportunities as they arise, such as writing for a college newspaper. Internships provide valuable experience in addition to academic qualifications as they offer practical experience and the chance to make valuable contacts.
All journalists are required to have good communication skills. Journalists must be able to put complex information into a way that is easy to understand. Good spelling, grammar and punctuation are also important. Many journalists are required to use computers to type, upload copy or research so the ability to use word processing tools and the Internet is important. Knowledge of the music industry is essential as State University note much of a music journalists work is opinion based.
The responsibilities of a music journalist vary depending on level of experience and publication. Those who are self-employed must actively seek new assignments between writing for current clients. Music journalists who work for a publication may be required to pitch story ideas to an editor then once commissioned research and write the piece to deadline. Typical daily tasks involve sorting through press releases, interviewing contributors, attending press conferences or album launches and writing articles.
Get Reporter notes that would-be music journalists must be persistent. The industry is competitive and often takes perseverance to break through. State University reports that many opportunities are now becoming available for music journalists online. Although some music journalists write for online publications, many start their own blog or website writing reviews and news in the form of their own publication.
The salary of a music journalist can vary considerably depending on experience, publication and location. According to State University, the average annual salary of music journalist is £27,950 a year. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics note the average starting salary for a journalism major in July 2009 was £22,963.