What’s it like working as a Maritime Journalist? If seafarers are viewed as the pumping heart of the shipping world, Maritime Journalists are its mouth, spreading the news of the industry to those within and outside. A Maritime Journalist is in daily contact with business sources, and reports on the day-to-day workings of the sector. In that respect a Maritime Journalist’s role is not dissimilar to that of a general journalist, however Maritime Journalists make their name by demonstrating their specialist shipping knowledge and their keen interest in all things maritime. The role itself can be varied and exciting with extensive travel options for junior and senior staff. Maritime journalists are rarely expected to work weekends, however some foreign conference travel might require extended work hours for a temporary period. Roles in the Maritime Journalism industry vary from sector-specific reporters, through to editors, and publishers at the top of the chain.
What kind of work can I do? Maritime Journalists can be expected to write market reports, features, opinion articles, as well as special in-depth reports. While some Maritime Journalists specialise in just one area, the majority will be able to turn their hand to any style of writing expected of them. The sector itself is often divided into a large number of subspecialties with publications devoted to separate shipping sectors, technology, commercial matters, professional journals, education, recreational boating and various enthusiast titles. In order to gather information for articles, Maritime Journalists use a number of sources. This can vary from trawling the internet and news wires and feeds – a subscription-based service giving 24-hour news leads – to contacting sources from the desk and out in the field. Where can I work? There are a great many specialist maritime publications, arguably the most famous of which is Lloyd’s List, which lays claim as the oldest, English published daily newspaper in the world. There are also weekly newspapers, monthly magazines, journals and digests, the majority of which are published in English. Some of the most recognised names include Lloyd’s List, Tradewinds, Fairplay, and Seatrade, In terms of training, while some large publishers have training programmes in place, many Maritime Journalists learn ‘on-the-job’, coming to journalism with only a keyboard, a naturally inquisitive nature and the ability to write quickly and accurately. Writing skills must usually be fine-tuned to deliver publishable copy, but this is an industry where practice makes perfect! A career in Maritime Journalism is rewarding for the naturally inquisitive who will enjoy the hunt for newsworthy information and the challenge of putting that information across in the most appropriate structure and style.
How big is this sector? While the number of specialist maritime publications is small in comparison with the large number of consumer newspapers and magazines, experienced Maritime Journalists are in high demand. Specialist knowledge of the industry is sought after and often Maritime Journalists freelance for a number of publications. There is also the scope to undertake maritime copy writing for other sectors, such as Public Relations and Advertising, and Maritime Journalists can also turn to book writing as an added skill set.