Magazine journalist

feature writer
Print and publishing, marketing and advertising

Career outlook for magazine journalist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would research and write features and news for magazines to inform and entertain the readers. You’d write articles so they are interesting to read and easy for people to understand.

You could work for lots of different types of magazines. For example, consumer magazines, some of which specialise in a particular subject like travel, fashion or cars.

Other types include:

  • Professional magazines aimed at people in a particular career
  • Business and trade magazines which focus on specific industries
  • In-house magazines for employees of large companies and organisations

You would:

  • Plan the content of the magazine with colleagues
  • Suggest ideas for articles
  • Interview people and do research for articles
  • Write articles to suit the magazine’s style
  • Keep up to date with developments and trends in the magazine's subject area
  • Produce versions of your articles for the magazine’s website and social media

You might also work as a critic, reviewing things like films, food or concerts.

You’d need to be interested in people, places and events and like asking questions. When you interview people you’d try to put them at their ease.

If you work for a specialist publication, you’d need to have knowledge of the subject.

You could be directly employed by a magazine or work on a freelance basis. Freelance magazine journalists can work for a number of different magazines and newspapers at the same time.

Working conditions


You would need to be flexible about your working hours. A normal working day could be 9am to 6pm. You may need to work longer, irregular hours if you’re working on a project with a tight deadline.


You may spend some of your time travelling to research articles or interview people. This could involve overnight stays away from home and sometimes overseas travel.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Creative
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Taking responsibility

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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You would need qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6, or a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8), a degree (SCQF level 9/10) or a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11). Useful subjects are journalism, English, advertising, communication, marketing and media. 

Or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a Diploma in Creative Digital Media  (SCQF level 7).  

You can get in to journalism National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with four National 4 or National 5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at BBBC or above or a relevant HNC/HND. 

To do a postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11) requires a relevant degree and may require experience. If your first degree is not in journalism you can do postgraduate options in journalism. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Administrative subjects
  • ICT subjects
  • Maths
  • Social studies subjects such as media

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate understanding of the industry, research and writing skills such as Skills for Work Creative Digital Media (SCQF level 4) or Creative Industries (SCQF level 5).