If you have an inquiring mind, a thirst for news, enjoy meeting people and sharing information, journalism could be the career for you.

Careers Information

What do they do?

Journalists research and produce stories for print, radio, television, websites and many other forms of media for social and commercial purposes. The industry is changing rapidly and there are many opportunities to succeed.

Journalists may do some or all of the following:

  • find and gather news about local or overseas events, which may involve covering a specific round (subject area) or attending a particular event
  • research and write stories
  • interview people and record interviews or take notes using shorthand
  • discuss work with the chief reporter, editors, sub-editors, or producers
  • talk to the company lawyer about any legal issues relating to stories
  • take photographs (depending on size and nature of the employer).

Radio or television journalists may also:

  • present stories for radio and television
  • direct technical staff and camera operators
  • edit footage or audio into a news story.

Typical day

Typically, 8-10 hour days. Long hours and/or weekend work may be required especially if there is a breaking news story. You will take direction to research and produce stories while gaining skills and experience.

How could I get into the industry?

There are no specific entry requirements to become a journalist; however, it is unlikely you will get a job without a qualification or considerable experience. Most employers look for journalists with a National Diploma in Journalism or Graduate Diploma in Journalism. A good way to gain experience and build a portfolio is to submit work to local newspapers.

If you wish to work as a reviewer or critic, you require good knowledge of your subject area and excellent writing skills. Most reviewers/critics work on a voluntary basis until they've built up a portfolio of published writing. A driver's licence is required for most jobs.

For students who want an introduction to journalism, two polytechnic providers – Aoraki and Whitireia – offer the New Zealand Certificate in Journalism (Level 4) qualification which is a structured learning pathway to the National Diploma in Journalism.

AUT and Massey University offer post-graduate qualifications in Journalism. Canterbury University offers a degree qualification with plans for post-graduate programme in 2015.

These courses teach the core subjects of journalism, including shorthand, to degree graduates. AUT also offers a Bachelor of Communication Studies. This is a three-year course with journalism majors focusing on newsroom skills. Several polytechnics offer journalism-related degrees. These are based on three years of full-time study.

Journalists who work in broadcasting need to be able to present information in a natural and confident way.


Click here for more details on the Careers NZ website.

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

• English or Media Studies or History

• Maths or Accounting or Economics 

• Computing / ICT / Information Management

• Creative Arts (Visual / Textiles / Graphics / Performance / Music)


• Confident communicator

• Good initiative/‘can do’ attitude

• Good literacy and numeracy

• Good at problem solving / creative

Helpful experience

• Administration, planning or organising things

• Analysing, researching or problem solving

• Selling or persuading people

• Creative work

(writing, drawing, styling)

Preferred work environments

• Inside (office environment)

• Different places from time to time 

• Varoius places every day

How much could I earn?

Icn Money

Newly qualified

$35k - $50k

Career Pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs

Good passes in NCEA Level 3 or equivalent skills and knowledge

Preliminary Journalism Skills
(Note: this is a good introduction and good experience however is not a precursor for journalism school)

Print Journalist

Radio Journalist

Television Journalist

Multi media Journalist


Technical Writer


Media Liaison

Political Press Secretary

Unit/Achievement standards in schools Traineeship Higher learning

What do we offer?

We work closely with the Journalism Education Association of New Zealand and members of your industry to ensure your industry qualifications continue to meet needs. We also support industry events like the annual Canon Media Awards and celebrate learners’ success.

Journalism schools

Seven journalism schools offer industry-approved journalism courses. Our job, via liaison and agreed monitoring systems, is to ensure the schools deliver cutting-edge training for students. Every school meets our nationally-approved standards.  We regularly monitor the schools to ensure their training remains first-class.

  • Bachelor of Communication Studies
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism)

Curriculum leader for journalism: Helen Sissons
School of Communication Studies
Private Bag 92006

Phone: (09) 921 9999
Fax: (09) 921 9987
Website: Auckland University of Technology

Bachelor of Communication Studies

Moderation Status: Successful moderation in 2012
Next moderation: 2013
Significant changes since last moderation: The journalism major is a dynamic programme that has been strengthened over the last three years through the introduction of new papers in Journalism Law and Ethics, Principles of News Journalism and Principles of Broadcast Journalism. Several well-established papers in News Reporting, Photojournalism, Public Affairs Reporting and New Media Journalism have been revised to take account ongoing and significant change in the news industry.

Annual degree programme intake: 300 students
Journalism major annual intake: About 40 (restricted)
Length of course: Three years with journalism major in third year.
Applications close: September of preceding year
Selection notified: November

Selection criteria: Most students selected into the BCS will be school leavers who have performed well in year 13 humanities or social science subjects. There are also opportunities for mature students and students transferring from other programmes, including the Certificate in Communication Studies. Applicants should have an enquiring mind, a good grasp of English usage, writing ability, a strong interest in the media and a range of personal of interests and skills demonstrating initiative and adaptability.

This is a three-year vocational degree programme which aims to produce graduates capable of moving immediately into careers in journalism, radio, television, public relations, advertising, creative industries and digital media. Students do practical papers in these areas, backed by academic papers in communication theory as well as subjects such as political studies and media ethics. In the third year journalism majors may take up to seven journalism papers, including specialisations in news production, broadcast journalism, magazine and feature writing, new media journalism and photo-journalism. Students have on-the-job training opportunities in their final year and also work on the School’s award-winning publication Te Waha Nui. For further information about the journalism major in the BCS programme visit the journalism homepage.

Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism)

Moderation status: Successful moderation in 2012
Next moderation: 2013
Significant changes since last moderation: In 2010 this course was offered for the first time as a one-year full-time postgraduate qualification. The postgraduate diploma can be undertaken as a stand-alone qualification, but it is also the first year of a two-year Masters in Communication Studies programme.
Annual intake: 30 students

Length of course: 26 weeks
Applications close: Late November of preceding year but late applications may be considered.
Selection notified: December/January

Selection criteria: Evidence of a commitment to journalism, such as a file of published stories, is useful as well as a good grasp of English, a strong interest in current affairs and personal qualities of curiosity, flair, initiative and intelligence. Entry is competitive and candidates sit a screening test during the selection process.
This is a long-established course that has been updated to reflect the growing convergence of print, broadcast and online skill sets and the needs of the news industry for graduates with a range of skills and interests that cross genres and platforms. The postgraduate diploma continues to offer very practical training in basic news writing skills, specialist reporting, investigative reporting, editing and design, broadcast and online news production. It is particularly suitable for university graduates looking for relevant training to launch into a journalism career or mature students seeking a career change. The journalism programme continues to provide students with on-the-job practical experience as well as access to some of New Zealand’s most experienced journalism educators. For more information visit the School of Communication Studies Postgraduate study page

Asia-Pacific Journalism

AUT Pacific Media Centre
Intake: 16 students

Level: 9
Length of course: 15 weeks (Specialist reporting paper in the Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism) and Masters degrees)

Applications close: February of current year

Selection criteria: Introduces advanced studies in comparative journalism and media globalisation with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. The political economy of the media in selected regional countries is examined. As well as the contextual media environment, this paper offers opportunities for in-depth regional reportage on cultural, environmental, political, governance, national development, social, media freedom and law issues. Asia-Pacific Journalism at AUT.

For more information visit the School of Communication Studies Postgraduate study page

The Pacific Media Centre also hosts two-week student professional journalism internships, and publishes Pacific Scoop news website and New Zealand’s only journalism research journal, Pacific Journalism Review.

Director: Professor David Robie

  • National Diploma in Journalism (Multi-media) (Level 5)
  • Certificate in Media Communication (Level 4) (incorporating National Certificate in Journalism (Introductory)

Private Bag 902, Timaru
32 Arthur Street
Timaru 7940
Phone: 0800 426 725 or +64 3 687 1800
Fax: +64 3 687 1809

Moderation status: Successful moderation in 2009. 

National Diploma in Journalism (Multi-media) (Level 5)

Course venue: Dunedin
Length of course: 34 weeks with three weeks work experience
Course starts: February and ends in November
Annual intake: 16 students
Applications: Preference given to those arriving November of the preceding year. Applications after this date will still be considered.
Selection notified: December
Selection criteria: Preference is given to students with maturity and a commitment to working in the print media, a keen interest in news and a realistic appreciation of what journalism involves. This course provides the basic skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for students to embark on a successful career in newspaper journalism.
Course description: If you have an interest in current, local, national and international news, a broad education, an interest in people, an inquiring mind and the ability to work under pressure, then you could utilise these strengths to create a career in journalism.

To pursue a professional career in journalism the entry level qualification is the National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia), which is embedded in our Diploma. Aoraki is one of only five accredited journalism schools in New Zealand chosen by Fairfax Media to train its interns.

Our journalism programme is tutored by an experienced journalist and is renowned for preparing industry-ready journalists who walk straight into sought-after media jobs around the country. As well as theory studies you will write and publish stories for local newspapers, gaining real experience on the requirements of a working journalist.

What will this programme cover?

Aoraki Graphic

  • Learn interviewing skills
  • Master another language, shorthand
  • Write news stories for publication
  • Write a feature article
  • Produce and load material for the internet
  • Analyse daily news coverage
  • Debate media ethics
  • Spend three weeks working in real newsrooms
  • Attend council meetings and court hearings
  • Design and lay out pages
  • Produce a photographic portfolio

Read a journalism student profile here

Certificate in Media Communication (Level 4) (incorporating National Certificate in Journalism (Introductory))

Course venue: Christchurch and Dunedin
Length of course: 34 weeks
Course starts: February and ends in November
Annual intake: 16 students
Applications close: Prior to course start.
Selection Criteria: For entry it is desirable to have 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 made up of 12 credits in English and 12 credits in each of three other subjects, or equivalent. Students  may be asked to attend an interview and complete a pre-entry literacy test.
Course description: This hands-on programme focuses on skills for the rapidly changing multimedia landscape. You will get out in the community interviewing and gathering stories and learn to write for print, radio, television and the web. You will also have the opportunity to submit stories for publication or broadcast.

This programme incorporates the National Certificate in Journalism (Introductory) and gives you an overview of some of the exciting opportunities available in this dynamic industry. It also operates with strong support from industry.

What will this programme cover?

Aoraki Graphic2

  • Writing news stories for TV, radio, newspapers and the web
  • Rules, regulations and ethical codes for journalists
  • Photojournalism
  • Design and layout of newspapers
  • Presenting news on camera
  • Interviewing skills
  • Communicating in a bi-cultural society
  • Feature writing

Read a journalism student profile here

  • Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications (Journalism)

New Zealand Broadcasting School
Christchurch Polytechnic
PO Box 540

Phone: (03) 940 8000
Fax: (03) 366 6544
Website: Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
Moderation status: Successful moderation in 2005
Next moderation: 2008
Significant changes since last moderation: Programme leader change

Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications (Journalism)

Programme leader: Jos Darling
Annual intake: Up to 20 students
Applications close: September 30 of the preceeding year
Programme begins: February
Length of programme: Three years. Two years intensive programme at the school, six months industry internship, the balance of study completed in applied research projects either while working or at school.
Selection criteria: Selection is based on aptitude and educational qualifications. A keen interest in current affairs and news and a good grasp of language usage are essential. Knowledge of shorthand and/or typing would be useful. The selection panel will be looking for: voice potential, writing and communication skills, curiosity, motivation, enthusiasm. The programme prepares students for careers in radio and television journalism.

  • Graduate Diploma in Journalism (Postgraduate)

Phone: 0800 VARSITY
Website: University of Canterbury
Journalism home page

Graduate Diploma in Journalism (Postgraduate)

The Graduate Diploma in Journalism is a one-year postgraduate programme aimed at preparing graduates for a career in print, broadcast and online journalism.

Students receive intensive training in media ethics and law, newsgathering and writing, research and analysis, and multimedia reporting, including basic storytelling methods in photography, audio and video and for online media. The course is designed to combine analytical skills with practical experience to produce thinking journalists who are highly competent and multi-skilled professionals.

Programme leaderTara Ross
Annual intake: up to 25 students
Applications close: The deadline for applications for the 2014 class has now closed, but late applications will be considered
Programme begins: February
Significant changes since last moderation: None
Selection criteria: Entry into the course is competitive. Candidates can improve their case by thoroughly investigating journalism as a career and taking steps to show they are serious about becoming a journalist. We look for people with a good academic record, a high standard of written and spoken English, a keen interest in news and current affairs, a realistic understanding of what being a journalist entails and an aptitude for news. While not essential, having a portfolio of published/broadcast work is an advantage. Candidates will be formally interviewed and may be required to sit a writing test.

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism
  • Master of Journalism

Journalism School
Massey University at Wellington
Private Box 756
Phone: (04) 801 5799 ext 62280
Website: Massey University

Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism

Head of School of Journalism: Dr Grant Hannis
Annual intake: 25 students
Applications close: End of October of preceding year
Selection notified: November
Programme begins: Late February
Length of course: 33 weeks, including several weeks work placement
Selection criteria: The minimum standards for entry include a good academic record plus evidence of a good command of both written and spoken English. We are looking for people with a good general knowledge, a passion for journalism and, preferably, some published or broadcast work (although this last requirement is not essential). The course equips students with marketable skills in a range of areas, including print journalism, broadcasting, web based reporting and specialist rounds like business and court reporting.

Master of Journalism

Students who complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism with a grade average of at least B can then proceed to complete the Master of Journalism. Students research and write a piece of long-form journalism with an accompanying academic essay.

  • Bachelor of Media Arts (Journalism pathway)
  • National Diploma in Journalism (multi-media)

Private Bag 3036
Programme manager: Charles Riddle
Phone: 0800 2 WINTEC
Website: Waikato Institute of Technology

Wintec offers two journalism qualifications moderated by the Competenz:

  1. Bachelor of Media Arts (Journalism pathway)
  2. National Diploma in Journalism (multi-media). This diploma can be studied either full-time at Wintec’s Hamilton campus or part-time online.

Bachelor of Media Arts (Journalism pathway)

Annual intake: A maximum of 20 students is accepted into the third-year journalism pathway
Selection notified: November
Programme begins: Second week of February
Length of course: Three years
Selection criteria: The BMA is a vocational degree with a strong emphasis on theoretical and practical training that equips graduates for the media workforce. Most students selected will have at least 60 credits at NCEA level 2 in four subjects, including a language rich subject; or 42 credits at NCEA level 3 in three subjects; or University Entrance; or an equivalent qualification. Special admission may be granted to candidates aged 20 years and older who do not meet the specified entry requirements. All candidates must attend an admission interview.

National Diploma in Journalism (multi-media)

Annual intake: About 16 students in the one-year full-time classroom-based delivery. About 40 students in the two-year part-time online-based delivery
Length of course: Full-time: 32 weeks with two weeks work experience. Part-time: 64 weeks (four semesters over two years).
Selection notified: November
Programme begins: Second week of February
Selection criteria: Preference is given to students with maturity, a commitment to working in print and a demonstrated interest in news. All applicants should be able to demonstrate an enquiring mind; an interest in current affairs; an ability to write clearly; and a strong grasp of English usage. All applicants will attend an interview. Candidates must have gained at least 54 credits in NCEA level 2; or an equivalent qualification. Special admission may be granted to candidates aged 20 years and older who do not meet the specified entry requirements.

Based in central city locations in Wellington and Auckland, Whitireia Community Polytechnic’s journalism school offers three main journalism training programmes, as well as “boot camp” foundation programmes for school students thinking of journalism as a career.

The main courses are:

  • The one-year National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia)
  • The one-year Diploma in Radio Journalism
  • The six-month Certificate in Multimedia Journalism, which staircases into the diplomas.

Tutorial staff:

News media experience among the staff of seven totals 160 years and includes newspaper, magazine, radio, TV and web journalism. Staff have extensive contact networks in the news media industry, which facilitate optimal work experience opportunities, top guest speakers and maximum assistance to graduates seeking employment.


Programmes are delivered at the school’s modern new campuses in Dixon St, Wellington, and Queen St, Auckland. Students have unlimited web time and access to professional-standard equipment and software. All learning material is available on the online Moodle system, which is accessible off-campus.


Bernie Whelan, Journalism Programme Manager -
Sue Burgin, Wellington Certificate Co-ordinator and Radio Journalism Programme Tutor -
Larry Summerville, Auckland Radio Manager
Myrddin Gwynedd, Auckland Certificate Co-ordinator -

Phone: (04) 237-3100 ext 3971
Websites: and Whitireia Journalism
NZJTO moderation status: Successful moderation in 2013

National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia) (Level 5)

Course co-ordinator: Bernie Whelan
Annual intake: 30 students
Applications close: Early June
Programme begins: Mid-July
Programme ends: Early May the following year.
Length of course: 36 weeks
Selection criteria: The course caters for university graduates, school-leavers who have studied Whitireia’s Certificate in Multimedia Journalism, and mature students returning to the workforce or looking for a career change. Selection involves an interview with tutorial staff and a writing test for those who cannot provide evidence of publication/broadcast.
Topics covered: These include news gathering and news writing, news photography, blogging, online journalism, social media, radio journalism, feature and magazine writing, media law and ethics, court and local body reporting, interviewing, research, numeracy, subediting and design, web editing, video journalism, bicultural and diversity reporting, and shorthand note-taking.
Outcomes: The course provides students with the skills and knowledge needed for employment as a journalist in media outlets using any form of delivery mode. Employment success rate is extremely high because of the school’s reputation within industry. Students learn to produce news stories, features and videos that are published in the region’s newspapers and on NewsWire, the only NZ journalism school news website.

Diploma in Radio Journalism (Level 5)

Course co-ordinator: Sue Burgin (Wellington); Larry Summerville (Auckland).
Annual intake: 16 students
July programme: Applications close mid-May, course starts mid-July, course finishes, early May.
February programme: Applications close mid-January, course starts mid-February, course ends, November.
Length of course: 36 weeks – includes workplace internship of eight weeks
Selection criteria: The course caters for people in the radio industry seeking a journalism qualification, graduates from lower level radio courses, university graduates, school-leavers who have studied Whitireia’s Certificate in Multimedia Journalism, and mature students returning to the workforce or looking for a career change. Selection involves an interview with tutorial staff and a voice test for those who cannot provide evidence of broadcast.
Topics covered: These include news gathering and  news story production, news script writing, audio recording, audio editing, voice presentation, documentary making, podcasting, live broadcasting, media law and ethics, court and local body reporting, interviewing, research, numeracy, video journalism, video editing, on-camera presenation and workplace skills.
Outcomes: The course provides students with the skills and knowledge needed for employment as a radio and video journalist. Students learn to produce radio news stories and documentaries, and how to work in a radio newsroom (through the 15-week internship in the latter half of the course). Their work will be broadcast on radio stations associated with the journalism school, including NewstalkZB, RadioLive,  NiuFM and Access Radio. Podcasts will be posted on NewsWire, the only NZ journalism school news website.

Certificate in Multimedia Journalism (Level 4)

Course co-ordinators: Sue Burgin (Wellington); Myrddin Gwynedd (Auckland).
Intake: 24 students
July programme: Applications close mid-May, course starts mid-July, course finishes, November.
February programme: Applications close mid-January, course starts mid-February, course ends, June.
Length of course: 18 weeks
Selection criteria: The course caters for school-leavers and mature students returning to the workforce or looking for a career change. It is also recommended to university graduates whose degree is unrelated to media. Selection involves an interview with tutorial staff and a writing test for those who cannot provide evidence of publication/broadcast.
Topics covered: These include introductions to news gathering and news writing, news photography, online journalism, radio journalism, media law and ethics, interviewing, research, numeracy, and video story-telling.
Outcomes: Students learn to produce basic news stories that are published on NewsWire, the only NZ journalism school news website. The course does not qualify graduates for employment. It is designed to 1) enable people to make an informed decision about whether to pursue journalism as a career by enrolling in the National Diploma; 2) prepare people for entry into the diploma.

Boot Camps

This is a series of, consecutive one-day courses in practical news media basics offered to senior secondary school students interested in journalism training and a career in the industry. They culminate in a late-year, two-week intensive “camp” for those wishing to apply for the Certificate in Multimedia Journalism.

Details are available from

National qualifications

The National Diploma of Journalism (Multi-media) (Level 5) is the entry-level qualification to a newsroom and is offered by polytechnics and institutes of technology. Graduates are recognised by industry as having the basic skills necessary to work in their chosen field, which may be newspaper, radio, television, internet or magazine. This qualification is made up of compulsory and elective unit standards. The compulsory units recognise the broad range of key skills required.

The elective units give providers some flexibility in the programmes they offer.

On the course, you will gather information and write news stories for publication and broadcast to the minimum standards for professional journalism and to meet the publishable standard. The range of topics for the stories includes: local government activities; court reporting; current events; Māoridom; and numerics and statistics. You will gain a basic understanding of media law and ethics and be able to produce photographs from news and internet assignments.

The diploma requires 36 weeks of full-time study, including a mandatory pass in shorthand. Part-time students are expected to complete the course in two years.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.

The National Diploma in Applied Journalism (Level 6) is a workplace-based qualification that formally recognises the training offered every day in newsrooms. It is available to journalists working in print, radio and television. To enrol you must be employed in a newsroom.

The qualification is made up of compulsory and elective subjects. You will submit portfolios of your work done in the newsroom to industry-appointed experts for marking and comment. The course includes news writing, news gathering, feature writing, media law1, ethics2, court reporting, sub-editing, photo journalism and internet reporting.

As well as completing on-job assignments, you are also visited in the workplace by Competenz staff, who will monitor progress and provide advice or assistance as required.

This qualification is expected to take up to 20 months to complete.

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview.