What type of journalist would you be?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
May 29, 2012, 3:50 PM GMT+0

Poll: Travel writing and sports reporting are Britain’s pick for favourite journalism specialities

Ever flicked (or clicked) through your chosen paper's different sections and thought – I’d quite like to do that?

Well, when we asked the British public what kind of journalist they'd like to be if they were to choose that job, it seems that many have – with travel and sport coming out as the most preferred specialisms, while other favourites included covering entertainment and political news.

Fewer than one in five people said that they wouldn't like to be any kind of journalist.

  • The most popular option was to be a travel journalist, selected by 15% of respondents
  • Coming in second was sports journalism with 13%
  • 7% would be an entertainment journalist, and another 7% would choose political journalism
  • 6% say they’d like to be a food journalist or a science journalist, while 5% would be keen on being a technology journalist
  • 4% gave the preference of being an arts and culture journalist; 4% would like to cover human interest stories, while 4% again said they'd like to be a foreign/international affairs journalist
  • 3% chose health journalist, while 3% fancy being a regional and local events journalist, and 2% would be a business journalist
  • Just 1% would be a national news journalist or weather journalist
  • The remainder of Britons (17%) say they would not like to be any sort of journalist

Wanderlust and writing

Travel journalism, while not considered a lucrative career move, is often still seen as incredibly coveted, with great significance placed on the chance to experience different countries, cultures and languages – and get paid for it.

'Travel Writing: How To' from respected travel guide writers Lonely Planet, is emphatic about the benefits of travel journalism.

"Travel writer," it begins. "Those two words are among the most alluring in the English language."

Calling the desire to write about travel "an ancient impulse" that can be traced back at least as far as Herodotus's ancient Greek tract, 'History of the Persian Wars' (publication date circa 440BC), the how-to guide nevertheless takes a pragmatic approach with its eager, would-be writers. "Being a travel writer is not all palmy bungalows, Parisian cafés and safari sunsets," it warns. "It's hard work".

And yet, while journalism may be experiencing a big change in the Internet age as blogs become more prominent and traditional forms of print journalism contract, making the industry tougher and tougher to break into, the Lonely Planet is optimistic about writing, and travel writing in particular, even if it won't ever make you wealthy.

"In the end, you don't have to make money to profit from travel writing," it says. "Sometimes the richest rewards are in the currency of experience."

See the survey details and full results here