The whole field of journalism is changing drastically as new media takes over from the old systems. Freelance and outsourced journalism is becoming the norm, where once it was a very risky career option. Syndication is becoming another emerging stream, sometimes tricky and complex, but a lot more workable than in previous times.
Journalism can be a working career without professional qualifications, but the qualifications are still very much preferred by media outlets, with some good reasons
Professional qualifications ensure competent handling of:
Journalists typically serve an apprenticeship in basic news media or industry magazines, etc, or in similar positions online. Some types of journalism, like science or technology journalism, are highly specialized. Video journalists, basically 'documentary' production journalists, perform similar work at the early stages of their careers.
Most journalist move around in the early stages of their careers. Some specialize in areas like politics, sport, etc, and pursue these career tracks. Others remain generalists in their fields, but rise through organizations through promotion and job moves. Journalistic careers usually involve multiple employers and multiple types of reporting.
Talent is also required, and to a large degree dictates career tracks. Journalism is also a mass media outlet, and journalistic product has to have a working commercial value. Most media have their own production style, and matching journalistic skills to content issues is very important. The fact is that journalists have to move in career tracks where their talents can support their job requirements. Not everyone's a great war zone reporter or a political commentator.
Journalists are basically writers and/or media specialists. The best career fit in both fields is the one which incorporates the strongest skills and job options. If you've got the right talents and a deep interest in your subject materials, you can have a fantastic career.