25 Journalist Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a journalist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Journalism is a critical part of our society, and good journalists are hard to come by. That’s why many employers interview potential candidates for journalist jobs. During a journalist interview, the interviewer will ask questions to assess your skills and see if you are a good fit for the job.

In this guide, you will find questions that are commonly asked in a journalist interview, as well as sample answers. The questions and answers in this guide can help you prepare for your interview and give you an idea of what to expect.

Common Journalist Interview Questions

1. Are you comfortable working in high-pressure situations?

Journalists often work in high-pressure situations, such as covering breaking news or interviewing public figures. Employers ask this question to make sure you are comfortable working under these conditions and can handle the stress of the job. In your answer, explain that you have experience with pressure and know how to manage it. Share a story about a time when you worked under pressure and succeeded.

Example: “Absolutely. I thrive in high-pressure situations. As a journalist, I’m used to working under tight deadlines and producing quality work quickly. I understand the importance of accuracy and attention to detail when it comes to reporting on important topics. I also have experience managing multiple projects at once and staying organized even when things get hectic. My ability to stay calm and focused in stressful environments has allowed me to produce some of my best work.”

2. What are some of your greatest strengths as a journalist?

Journalists need to be able to work quickly and efficiently, so employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary for the job. When answering this question, think about what your greatest strengths are as a journalist. Try to choose traits that will help you succeed in this role.

Example: “As a journalist, I believe my greatest strengths are my ability to research and investigate topics thoroughly, as well as my strong writing skills. My experience in the field has allowed me to develop an eye for detail and uncover stories that others may have missed. I’m also able to quickly analyze complex information and present it in a clear and concise manner.

I am highly organized and can manage multiple projects at once while still meeting deadlines. I understand the importance of accuracy and strive to ensure all facts are verified before publication. Finally, I possess excellent communication skills which allow me to effectively collaborate with colleagues and sources.”

3. How do you stay up-to-date on current events and issues in your community?

Journalists need to be aware of what’s happening in their communities and around the world. Employers ask this question to make sure you have a passion for current events and that you’re willing to do your own research. In your answer, share two or three ways you stay informed about local and global news. Explain why these methods are important to you.

Example: “I stay up-to-date on current events and issues in my community by staying engaged with the news. I read local newspapers, watch local television news broadcasts, and follow reliable sources on social media. I also attend city council meetings to get a better understanding of what is happening in my area. Finally, I make sure to talk to people in my community to hear their perspectives about the issues that are important to them. This helps me gain insight into how these issues affect different people and gives me a more comprehensive view of the situation. By taking all of these steps, I am able to stay informed and knowledgeable about the latest developments in my community.”

4. What is your writing process like?

Journalists need to be able to write quickly and accurately. Employers ask this question to make sure you have a process that works for you. In your answer, explain how you plan out your stories and what tools you use to get the job done.

Example: “My writing process is very organized and efficient. I like to start by researching the topic thoroughly, gathering facts and data from reliable sources. Once I have all of my information, I begin outlining my article or piece. This helps me organize my thoughts and create a structure for my work. After that, I write a rough draft and then go back through it to make any necessary edits. Finally, I review my work one last time before submitting it.

I believe this approach allows me to produce quality content in an efficient manner. My research skills allow me to provide accurate information while my editing skills ensure that my work is free of errors. I am confident that these qualities will help me excel as a Journalist at your organization.”

5. Provide an example of a time when you had to conduct an interview with a difficult or unwilling subject. How did you handle the situation?

Interviewing can be a challenging process, especially when you’re interviewing someone who is unwilling to answer your questions. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have experience with difficult interviews and how you handled them. In your answer, explain what steps you took to try to get the interview subject to open up. Explain that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get the information you need for an article.

Example: “I recently had to conduct an interview with a subject who was very reluctant to answer my questions. I knew that the story would be incomplete without their input, so I took a few moments before starting the interview to establish trust and rapport.

I started off by introducing myself and explaining why I wanted to speak with them. I asked open-ended questions about their life and experiences in order to get them comfortable with me. Once they were more relaxed, I began asking the questions related to the story.

Throughout the interview, I made sure to listen carefully and respond to any concerns they had. I also gave them time to think before responding to each question, which allowed them to feel more at ease. By the end of the interview, the subject was much more willing to share their thoughts and opinions.”

6. If you were given the opportunity to cover any story, what would it be? Why?

This question is a great way to show your passion for journalism and the stories you want to tell. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a story that has been in the news recently or one that you have followed closely. It’s also important to explain why you are passionate about covering this particular story.

Example: “If I had the opportunity to cover any story, it would be a story that has an impact on people’s lives. As a journalist, I believe in telling stories that can make a difference and help bring about positive change.

For example, I am passionate about covering stories related to social justice issues such as poverty, inequality, racism, and discrimination. These are topics that need more attention from the media, and I think it is important for journalists to use their platforms to shed light on these issues.

I also have a strong interest in investigative journalism, which involves uncovering hidden truths and bringing them to the public’s attention. This type of reporting requires a lot of research and dedication, but I believe it is worth it if it can lead to real change.”

7. What would you do if you learned about a breaking news story before your senior colleagues?

This question can help interviewers assess your ability to work with others and share information. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of teamwork and collaboration in journalism.

Example: “If I learned about a breaking news story before my senior colleagues, I would first assess the situation and determine if it was something that needed to be reported immediately. If so, I would take the initiative to start researching and writing the story right away. I understand the importance of being timely with reporting on news stories, and I am confident in my ability to quickly gather information and craft an accurate, well-written article.

I also recognize the need for collaboration when working on a team. After I had started gathering information and writing the story, I would reach out to my senior colleagues to inform them of what I had discovered and ask for their input. This way, we could work together to ensure that the story is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. Furthermore, I believe that by involving senior colleagues early on, I can help create a culture of trust and respect within our team.”

8. How well do you know the local area and its communities?

Journalists often need to know the communities they cover. They should be familiar with local politics, crime rates and other factors that affect a community’s residents. When you answer this question, try to show your knowledge of the area by mentioning some facts about it.

Example: “I have been a journalist in the local area for over 10 years, so I am very familiar with it. During that time, I have developed strong relationships with many of the people and organizations within the community. I understand the nuances of the different neighborhoods and their respective cultures. I also have an extensive network of contacts who can provide me with valuable insights into what is happening locally.

In addition to my knowledge of the local area, I have kept up-to-date on current events and trends in the region. This has enabled me to stay abreast of important issues affecting our communities and to be able to report accurately on them. Furthermore, I have conducted numerous interviews with local residents and business owners, which has given me a deeper understanding of the unique challenges facing the area.”

9. Do you have any experience writing for social media platforms?

Social media platforms are a growing area of journalism, and employers may ask this question to see if you have experience writing for these sites. If you do, share an example of how you wrote for social media and what your process was. If you don’t have any experience with social media platforms, explain that you’re willing to learn the platform and write for it if necessary.

Example: “Yes, I have a great deal of experience writing for social media platforms. I have written content for multiple accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My work has been featured in articles and posts that have gone viral, reaching thousands of people around the world. I understand the importance of creating engaging content that resonates with readers, and I’m confident that I can bring this same level of creativity to your team. Furthermore, I am well-versed in SEO best practices and know how to optimize my content to reach the right audience. Finally, I am familiar with various analytics tools and can track the performance of my work to ensure it is successful.”

10. When reporting on a controversial issue, how do you remain neutral?

Journalists are often tasked with reporting on controversial issues. Employers ask this question to make sure you can remain neutral when reporting on these types of stories. Use your answer to show the interviewer that you have experience doing this in the past and how you do it.

Example: “As a journalist, I understand the importance of remaining neutral when reporting on controversial issues. My approach to this is to always ensure that I am gathering information from multiple sources and perspectives before forming an opinion or making any judgements. This helps me to remain unbiased in my reporting and ensures that I am presenting all sides of the story fairly and accurately. In addition, I strive to be transparent with my readers by clearly stating any potential conflicts of interest or biases that may influence my reporting. Finally, I recognize the importance of providing context for the issue being reported on so that readers can make informed decisions about their own beliefs.”

11. We want to improve our multimedia capabilities. Are you interested in shooting and editing video?

This question is a great way to determine if the candidate has experience with multimedia. It’s also an opportunity for you to see how they respond to change and new challenges. If you’re looking for someone who can adapt, consider hiring someone who says yes to this question.

Example: “Absolutely! I have experience shooting and editing video for both print and digital media. I’m confident in my ability to create compelling multimedia content that will help your organization reach its goals.

I understand the importance of creating engaging videos that capture the attention of viewers, and I am comfortable working with a variety of software programs to edit footage into something special. My background also includes researching stories, conducting interviews, and writing scripts that are tailored to the target audience.”

12. Describe your writing style and what you like to include in your articles.

Journalists write for a variety of audiences, so it’s important to be able to adapt your writing style. This question helps employers understand how you can adjust your writing style and what you enjoy writing about.

Example: “My writing style is direct and engaging. I like to focus on the facts, while also providing an interesting narrative that captures readers’ attention. My articles are well researched and include relevant quotes from experts in the field as well as personal anecdotes when appropriate. I strive to make my stories informative and entertaining for a wide variety of audiences.

I’m also passionate about giving voice to those who may not have one otherwise. I believe it’s important to tell stories from different perspectives and to provide context and nuance to complex issues. I enjoy exploring topics from multiple angles and finding unique ways to present information.”

13. What makes you stand out from other journalists applying for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and how it relates to the position. They want to know what makes you unique, so share a story or two that highlights your skills as a journalist.

Example: “I believe my experience and qualifications make me stand out from other journalists applying for this position. I have a degree in journalism, as well as several years of professional experience working as a journalist for both print and digital media outlets. During that time, I’ve developed strong writing skills, research capabilities, and an eye for detail.

I’m also passionate about the work I do and am constantly striving to improve my craft. I stay up-to-date on current events and trends in the industry, which allows me to bring fresh perspectives to my stories. My commitment to accuracy and quality is reflected in my past work, which has been published in various publications. Finally, I’m comfortable working with tight deadlines and can handle multiple tasks at once while still producing high-quality results.”

14. Which journalism degree program did you complete and why did you choose it?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the field and how you’ve applied it. If you’re currently enrolled in a journalism program, be sure to mention that as well.

Example: “I completed my journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley. I chose this program because it is one of the most prestigious and well-respected programs in the country. It has an excellent reputation for producing top-notch journalists who are prepared to take on any challenge.

The curriculum was comprehensive and covered all aspects of journalism, including reporting, writing, editing, and multimedia production. The faculty members were experienced professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience that they shared with us. They also provided us with plenty of opportunities to practice our skills in real-world situations.

In addition, the university offered internships and other hands-on experiences that allowed me to gain valuable professional experience while still in school. This gave me the opportunity to network and build relationships with industry professionals before graduating.”

15. What do you think is the most important aspect of a journalist’s job?

This question is a great way to show the interviewer that you understand what it means to be a journalist. It also gives them insight into your values and how you would approach this job. When answering, think about what makes journalism important to you personally.

Example: “As a journalist, I believe the most important aspect of my job is to provide accurate and unbiased information. It’s essential that I remain impartial when reporting on any given topic, so as not to influence public opinion or sway readers in one direction or another. Furthermore, it’s also important for me to be thorough in my research and fact-checking, ensuring that all sources are reliable and trustworthy. Finally, I think it’s extremely important to have an ethical approach to journalism and to always strive to tell stories with integrity. This means being honest and transparent about any potential conflicts of interest and avoiding sensationalism at all costs.”

16. How often do you update your skills through continuing education?

Journalists need to stay up-to-date on current events and trends. Employers ask this question to make sure you are committed to your own professional development. In your answer, explain how you plan to keep learning throughout your career as a journalist.

Example: “I am committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in journalism. I make a point of attending conferences, seminars, and workshops related to my field whenever possible. In addition, I read industry publications and blogs regularly to stay informed about current events and new techniques. Finally, I take advantage of online courses and webinars that allow me to learn from experts in the field without having to leave home. By doing so, I’m able to keep my skills sharp and remain competitive in an ever-changing profession.”

17. There is a lot of competition for news stories. How would you differentiate yourself from other journalists?

Journalists are often competing for the same stories, so it’s important to show how you can differentiate yourself from other journalists. This is your chance to explain what makes you unique and valuable as a journalist.

Example: “I believe that my unique combination of skills and experience sets me apart from other journalists. I have a strong background in research, which allows me to find stories that others may not be aware of or may overlook. My writing style is also distinctive; I strive to write with clarity and precision, while still being engaging and informative.

Additionally, I am highly organized and able to manage multiple projects at once. This helps me stay on top of current events and quickly respond to breaking news. Finally, I’m an excellent communicator and collaborator, so I’m able to work well with sources and colleagues to ensure accuracy and timely reporting.”

18. What strategies have you employed to gain exclusive access to sources?

Journalists often need to gain access to sources and information that other reporters may not have. Employers ask this question to see if you know how to get exclusive stories or interviews with people in power. Use your answer to explain a time when you got an exclusive story, interview or piece of information. Explain what steps you took to ensure you were the only reporter who had it.

Example: “I have a long history of developing relationships with sources that allow me to gain exclusive access. I believe in building trust and respect with my sources, which helps them feel comfortable sharing information with me. To do this, I always make sure to be professional and honest when dealing with sources. I also take the time to listen to their stories and understand their perspectives.

In addition, I use various strategies to ensure that my sources are willing to speak with me. For example, I often offer to keep conversations off the record until both parties agree on terms for an interview. This allows sources to feel more secure about speaking openly with me. Finally, I strive to create unique angles and stories that will be interesting to readers while still being respectful of the source’s privacy.”

19. How would you rate your research and fact-checking skills?

Journalists need to be able to research and verify information quickly. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary for the job. Use your answer to highlight your ability to find sources, check facts and gather information from a variety of places.

Example: “I would rate my research and fact-checking skills as excellent. I have a great deal of experience in both areas, having worked as a journalist for the past five years. During this time, I have developed an eye for detail and a strong sense of accuracy when it comes to researching and verifying facts.

When conducting research, I am meticulous about double-checking sources and ensuring that all information is accurate and up-to-date. I also take extra steps to ensure that any quotes or statistics are properly attributed. In addition, I have extensive experience with online databases and other resources which can help me quickly locate relevant information.

As far as fact-checking goes, I always strive to be thorough and unbiased. I understand the importance of being able to verify facts and make sure they are correct before publishing them. I have a keen eye for spotting errors and inconsistencies, and I’m confident that I can provide reliable and accurate results.”

20. Are there any ethical issues that you are particularly sensitive to when reporting?

Ethical issues are important to journalism, and the interviewer may ask this question to see if you have any personal opinions on how journalists should handle certain situations. In your answer, explain what ethical issue is most important to you and why.

Example: “Absolutely. As a journalist, I am very aware of the ethical issues that come with reporting and take them into consideration when writing stories. One of the most important ethical considerations is accuracy. It’s essential to make sure all facts are correct before publishing any story. I also take great care to ensure that my sources are reliable and trustworthy. Furthermore, I’m always mindful of how my words may be interpreted by readers and strive to avoid sensationalism or bias in my work. Finally, I believe it’s important to respect people’s privacy and not publish anything without their consent. These are just some of the ethical considerations I keep in mind when reporting.”

21. Have you ever had to work under tight deadlines? If so, how did you handle the pressure?

Journalists often have to work under tight deadlines, so employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the pressure of a deadline. In your answer, share an example of when you had to meet a deadline and how you handled it.

Example: “Yes, I have had to work under tight deadlines many times throughout my career as a journalist. When faced with this pressure, I remain focused and organized in order to ensure that all of the necessary tasks are completed on time. I prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency and then break them down into manageable chunks so that I can complete each task efficiently. I also make sure to communicate regularly with my team members or supervisors to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Finally, I stay positive and motivated by reminding myself why I am doing this work and how it will benefit others.”

22. In what ways do you think technology is changing journalism?

Technology is changing journalism in many ways. Employers may ask this question to see how you feel about technology’s impact on the field and whether you have experience using it to your advantage as a journalist. In your answer, try to explain what you think are some of the most important changes that technology has brought to journalism and why they’re beneficial for readers.

Example: “Technology is transforming journalism in many ways. With the rise of digital media, journalists have access to a variety of new tools that allow them to create more engaging and interactive content for their audiences. For example, multimedia platforms such as video, audio, and interactive graphics can be used to tell stories in a way that was not possible before. In addition, social media has enabled journalists to reach larger audiences than ever before, allowing them to connect with readers and viewers on a deeper level. Finally, technology has allowed journalists to access data quickly and easily, giving them the ability to provide timely and accurate reporting. All of these advancements are making journalism more accessible and impactful than ever before.”

23. Do you have experience working with a team of editors or producers?

Journalists often work with a team of editors and producers to ensure they have the resources they need to complete their assignments. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand how important teamwork is in journalism. Use your answer to explain that you are willing to collaborate with others on projects. Explain that you value the opinions of others, which can help you create better stories.

Example: “Yes, I have extensive experience working with a team of editors and producers. During my time as a journalist at ABC News, I worked closely with the editorial staff to ensure that stories were accurate and timely. I was responsible for researching and writing articles, as well as coordinating interviews and other tasks with the production team. My ability to collaborate with others allowed me to create compelling content that resonated with readers. I also had the opportunity to work on special projects with teams from different departments, which gave me valuable insight into how various aspects of the newsroom come together to produce quality journalism. I’m confident in my ability to work effectively with an editorial or production team, and I look forward to bringing this skill set to your organization.”

24. Describe a time when you had to make an editorial decision on deadline.

This question can help the interviewer assess your ability to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Use examples from previous experiences where you had to make a decision on deadline, but also highlight how you used critical thinking skills to come up with an informed solution.

Example: “I was working as a journalist for an online news outlet when I had to make an editorial decision on deadline. We were covering the aftermath of a natural disaster, and I was assigned to write about the impact it had on local businesses. As I wrote my article, I noticed that there was a discrepancy between what the business owners said and what the official reports stated.

I knew that this could be a major story, but I also knew that I didn’t have much time to investigate further before the deadline. After consulting with my editor, we decided that I should include both sides of the story in my article, while making sure to clearly explain the discrepancies. This allowed readers to draw their own conclusions without us having to speculate or take sides.

In the end, the article was well-received by our readership and provided valuable insight into the situation. It was a great example of how careful reporting and thoughtful editorial decisions can lead to meaningful journalism.”

25. How do you ensure accuracy in your reporting?

Accuracy is a key component of journalism. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of accuracy and how you ensure it in your reporting. In your answer, explain that you take several steps to ensure you are accurate in your reporting. You can also share an example of when you had to be especially careful about accuracy in your work.

Example: “I take accuracy in my reporting very seriously. I always double-check facts and sources before publishing any story, and make sure to include multiple perspectives when possible. I also ensure that all quotes are attributed correctly and that the information is up-to-date. When researching a topic, I use reliable sources such as peer-reviewed journals, government documents, and reputable news outlets. Finally, I am open to feedback from editors and colleagues, which helps me refine my work and catch any errors. In short, accuracy is one of my top priorities when it comes to journalism, and I strive to produce stories that are both accurate and informative.”


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