I am a fairly experienced writer, but I have little experience in journalistic writing and no formal education in journalism. I believe I can pick up the craft aspects of this form of writing. However, I don't really know where to begin in terms of career path.
So, I would like to know what options are available to a skilled beginner without a diploma whose goal is to become a professional magazine or newspaper journalist. Should I write freelance articles and submit them where I can? Should I apply for some sort of junior/intern/coffee-delivery position at publishers? I understand that any path will probably take years, and I am alright with that. I am just looking for general advice on where to get work when first starting out.
I am also curious if the lack of degree will hurt me significantly. Would four years back at school benefit me more than four years trying to break into the field without that degree?