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Law-Related Career Center


Professional Journalist

Journalists inform the public about news and events locally, nationally, and internationally. Their work is published or broadcast online, on television, on the radio, in newspapers and in magazines.

The primary skills required to be a journalist are writing, editing, and researching news stories. Duties frequently include conducting interviews, developing contacts with experts in a specific field, and traveling. A journalist’s work is, by nature, often fast-paced and must be done quickly and accurately. When a story is breaking, journalists must work at a moment’s notice, often including evenings and weekends.
Some journalists specialize in a specific field such as sports, politics, science, entertainment, or the law. For example, a journalist who has developed an expertise in the law may report on trials, write for a legal newspaper or magazine, or serve as a legal correspondent on television.

Most journalists have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. Some employers, however, may look for journalists with a specific degree, such as English, political science, or law. Other important qualities of a journalist include communications skills, analytical skills, people skills, objectivity, persistence, and stamina. 

In May 2010, the median annual pay for a journalist that works in television was $54,140, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual pay for other journalists was $34, 530.

For more information about journalists, go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics page on reporters.

Private Detective

Private detectives or investigators assist individuals, businesses, and lawyers by uncovering facts and analyzing information. The duties of private detectives vary depending on the client’s individual needs. Some of those duties may include taking interviews, working undercover, and performing surveillance. Private detectives also provide other services, such as personal protection and individual background checks, or they may perform computer forensics work.

Formal education is not a requirement to become a private detective. Most private detectives, however, have post-secondary degrees (i.e., an associate’s or bachelor’s degree). Knowledge or experience in criminal justice and police investigation is helpful. To be a private detective for a corporation often requires a master’s degree in business administration or a law degree. Some organizations provide certification to be a private detective in a certain field.

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