In a nutshell: For the right person, becoming a journalist could be very impactful. Good journalists help keep the public informed, positively shape public discourse on important topics, and can provide a platform for people and ideas that the public might not otherwise hear about.
Sometimes recommended — highly competitive
This career is potentially high-impact, but is exceptionally competitive.
Based on a shallow investigation
Why might journalism be high impact?
Good journalists keep the public informed and help positively shape public discourse by spreading accurate information on important topics. Although the news media tends to focus more on current events, journalists also often provide a platform for people and ideas that the public might not otherwise hear about.
One subpath we’re especially excited about is science journalism, due to the important role of science and technology in many of the problems we highlight as most pressing. There is also a lot of oversimplification and confusion in much current public discussion of science and technology, perhaps because few people have the right combination of skills: communication, interest in improving public understanding, and a sufficient understanding of science and technology. (Based on our audience research, if you’re reading this, you might be more likely than average to be able to bridge that gap.)
Journalists could also write about ideas in effective altruism and apply them to current events, which we think can be very valuable. See Vox’s Future Perfect for an example of this work.
All that said, this path is also very competitive, especially when it comes to the kinds of work that seem best for communicating important ideas (which are often complex), such as longform articles or books, podcasts, and documentaries. It also seems relatively easy to make things worse as a journalist by directing people’s attention the wrong way — so this path may require especially good judgement about which projects to pursue and with what strategy.
Example of someone pursuing this path
Want one-on-one advice on pursuing this path?
If you think this path might be a great option for you, but you need help deciding or thinking about what to do next, our team might be able to help.
We can help you compare options, make connections, and possibly even help you find jobs or funding opportunities.