Columnists are individuals who write brief essays commentaries and pieces that are most often published in the print media. Columnists are similar to journalists except they do not necessarily report with a neutral style and they do not have to report news objectively. Rather they write features or articles on a regular schedule (daily weekly monthly) covering subjects such as politics movies or theatre etiquette advice gossip humor or fashion usually with a personal slant.
Their writing is usually prefaced by a heading meant to identify them followed by a byline below it. Some columnists write for a particular news outlet while others write for syndication meaning that their column will appear in a number of different sources.
A career as a columnist usually involves writing pieces for newspapers magazines and websites but some columnists work for broadcast media in radio and television.
According to the website Ehow.com columnists usually have a bachelor's degree in communications or journalism although there is no set requirement other than being good at researching topics interviewing people being a highly skilled at writing using the Associated Press Stylebook form of reporting and of course being a good typist.
Columnists must be willing to work long hours including evenings weekends and holidays.
The website www.payscale.com reports that salaries vary widely and range from approximately $20000 to $74000. In the coming decade there will be competition for a declining number of jobs especially for work with the larger publishers in urban areas.