Have you always been intrigued by news anchors and reporters? Do you sit in the comfort of your home and think how you would love to be doing that job? If you said yes to these questions, then you should consider pursuing a career in journalism. As a journalist you will likely be responsible for researching many different types of news stories through interviews, online resources, use of the library, and observations. After completing your research, you will need to deliver your story with an appropriate tone for an appropriate audience. It is common for individuals who want to work as a journalist to obtain a bachelor’s degree in this field. Although employment is declining in some areas of journalism, technological advances are allowing new areas of journalism to be created and to increase specific employment opportunities. In addition, by obtaining a higher educational degree you will have further employment opportunities in most any area of journalism.
Although you will be able to seek employment in the world of journalism with just a bachelor’s degree, by obtaining your master’s degree your employment opportunities will greatly increase. Should you decide to pursue a Master of Arts degree in broadcast journalism, you will be required to complete courses such as television news writing, audio production, and television magazine production. However, if you pursue a Master of Arts in Science and Technology Journalism you will be taking classes related to science policy, biomedical reporting, and other areas of technological and scientific specialization. There is also the possibility of pursuing a Master of Arts in Business Journalism.
This degree program is typically combined with some sort of business degree for a dual certification. Should you decide this degree program is the one for you, then you will be taking classes related to global economy, investigative reporting, press ethics, financial accounting and reporting, and you will be required to complete an internship. It would also be feasible for you to choose a Master of Arts in Digital Media Journalism. In today’s technologically focused society, this is sure to be a great choice; you will learn how to effectively blend photos, video, text, and audio in order to tell news stories. Keep in mind, these degree programs will have additional requirements that you must complete. Take a moment and look over any of the schools on our site that appeal to you. Any of them will be glad to send you a free information packet detailing what they can offer you. Although most of your job opportunities will be in the capacity of a journalist, there are definitely many variations of employment you can pursue. Your educational degree will help to direct you into a specific employment direction. Research the journalism colleges below to find the best fit for your career training.
Thinking about becoming a journalist? The field of journalism is undergoing a ton of changes at the moment with the advent of new ways to access and consume the news. Social media websites, podcasts, and the ability to share live video is transforming an age old profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in traditional journalism is expected to decline quite rapidly between 2014 and 2024, due in large part to declining ad revenues for radio, television, and newspapers. The old news reporters and correspondents of years ago will face increasing competition as news agencies consolidate, enter content sharing agreements, and fold under the pressure of the new ways that people are accessing their local and national news. They could see a decrease as high as 13% over the next decade.
However, the job of sorting fact from fiction remains extremely relevant and according to many experts, these jobs won't simply just disappear, but morph into different kinds of positions as we integrate these new technologies. For instance, the Boston Globe put on a show called Globe Live, where journalists shared interesting anecdotes in front of a live audience and broadcast that show via their Facebook page. New tools like Facebook Live and Periscope allow reporters to present local stories in real time and make the experience more interactive. These new tools also come with a downside, too, since journalists are expected more and more to develop compelling content from start to finish, conception to publication, for the web. Since it's possible to do everything necessary for a news story, it's often expected. Only time will tell how this all works out, but entering the field of journalism now is arguably more exciting than ever. The field needs people who are innovative and adaptable to enter the profession now more than ever in order to save it from imploding.
There are a number of jobs in the field of journalism, including reporters, news writers, correspondents, columnists, and broadcast news analysts. In general, the people who are successful in this field display traits of curiosity, interest in social issues, strong communication skills, excellent writing skills, and the ability to read and interpret large amounts of text or other media in a short span of time. They can write stories for national level news or local level news for various outlets, such as radio, television, newspaper or a website. Each niche has its own specific job duties and perks, but for the most part all of them are taxed with researching stories that are handed to them by an editor or news director, then performing interviews with people familiar on that topic, and finally developing a compelling news story that presents the facts in a straightforward manner, left open for the reader's own personal interpretation. Journalistic integrity is still important for many news outlets, though the rise of news heavily based in opinion has been a challenge to the field. Journalism has been and will continue to be an insanely competitive field, but if you're passionate about the work it can be extremely rewarding. We will discuss the educational paths you will have to take to become a journalist below!
Field experience is oftentimes more important in journalism than your degree. It's extremely difficult or even impossible to teach good instincts, the ability to talk to someone and make them feel comfortable, calm in the face of potential danger or uncomfortable situations, the ability to identify and set trends, or how to organize research in a way that engages and educates an audience. If you can do these things well, can demonstrate that ability in your work consistently, and find yourself in the right place at the right time, you'll probably be a very successful journalist. This is much easier said than done as these skills are extremely complex and luck is involved, but it's entirely possible to become a journalist without any formal education. It takes hard work and it takes a lot of motivation to go after your work and put it out there on a continual basis, but it is technically possible.
However, most employers are going to require at least a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communication. Some may even require a graduate degree in journalism, and these are often a good idea if you're looking to advance to positions like editor or news director. However, nothing substitutes for real, applicable experience. Choosing a program at any level will require you to look into the opportunities that will be available for you to actually practice journalism while you earn your degree. When it comes to journalism, there are a lot of different concentrations available, depending on your school's program. You can get your degree with concentrations in photojournalism, investigative journalism, emerging media, and so much more! You don't necessarily have to major in journalism, either. You can major in mass communications or in English and you'll still be qualified for the job. No matter which course you choose to take during your education, it's highly recommended that you take electives in other fields in order to be able to talk intelligently about these subjects when it comes time to report on them. For instance, just because you're majoring in photojournalism doesn't mean you shouldn't take a political science course. It could come in handy! Double majoring in another subject is even better, demonstrating your depth of knowledge about a specific subject and your ability to disseminate information about that subject and relay to people who may not know as much as you do. Below, we'll talk about different majors and what you can expect to study in each one as well as the availability and time commitment involved!
• Associate's Degree in Journalism or Communications – Associate degrees in journalism usually serve as a jumping off point for someone to go on and earn their bachelor's degree. These programs are also ideal for those that have little to no professional writing experience, so for high school graduates that may be considering the field but aren't sure, this can be a good introduction for them to decide if they want to pursue a job in journalism or not. Though earning an associate's degree in journalism or communications may qualify you for certain entry-level positions, most employers will expect a bachelor's degree, at the minimum, to be considered for employment. Perhaps more important than the degree is the people you will meet that will give you opportunities to network and the opportunity to get some hands-on experience with the school's resources, such as the school's newspaper, radio station, or yearbook. Associate programs typically take two years to complete and they can cost about $32,000 on average, though this can vary widely depending on location and a variety of other factors. These degree programs are almost always offered as an Associate of Arts degree, and courses in these programs include: mass communication, English, public relations, newspaper reporting, feature writing, desktop publishing, and copywriting. These degree programs are offered at two-year institutions, like community colleges, and unfortunately there are no programs available online.
• Bachelor's Degree in Journalism – This is the most common degree held by people in the field of journalism and the curriculum is intended to get you to a point where you can compose professional level articles and other content that is ready for print or publication on the web. A bachelor's degree in journalism will take approximately 3-4 years to complete. It may be offered as a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (BAJ) or Bachelor of Science in Journalism (BSJ). During these programs, you will learn about subjects such as: the change in journalism with the emergence of blogging and social media, how to avoid slander, photojournalism, how to determine if someone is a public or private figure, how to work with informants, the ethics of reporting the news, the art of broadcasting, and multimedia skills, among an assortment of other extremely useful knowledge. Common courses that are covered in these programs include: writing for communication, reporting, quantitative methods and visualization, understanding media, data-driven journalism, in-depth journalism, topics in mass media, opinion writing, sports writing and reporting, and broadcast delivery. Many of these programs require you to minor in another subject in order to jump start your career by giving you a niche in which you can write with specific knowledge. Online options are available for this degree program through accredited institutions. The average cost of a year in one of these degree programs is between $8,000 - $21,000 per year. This cost depends on a wide variety of factors, such as whether you intend to attend a school in the state in which you live and where that school is located. Earning a bachelor's degree in journalism will qualify you for most entry-level positions in journalism, advertising, editing, or public relations, as well as many other fields of work.
• Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication – Many times, a bachelor's degree in mass communication will be offered in conjunction with journalism, or offered with journalism as a concentration. In other words, these two subjects are inextricably linked. Mass communication is slightly different in that the general idea of mass communication is to disseminate information so that large masses of people can comprehend it, while journalism is geared more towards crafting a story. There is a general consensus, also, that journalism involves the more traditional forms of news reporting, like newspapers, magazines, and television, while mass communications is a broader field that also encompasses radio, advertising, corporate communications, and much more. These degree programs are offered as Bachelor of Arts programs in most cases, but they can also be offered as a Bachelor of Science program, or both. A bachelor's degree in mass communication takes 3-4 years to complete. During these programs, common subjects that are covered include: expository writing, news analysis, research techniques, reporting, journalistic ethics, and communication law. A small sample of courses offered in these programs includes: ethical issues in public relations, television news writing, graphic design, multimedia storytelling, and media law. A lot of journalism courses are also offered as a part of the mass communication program at many schools. These degree programs are offered at most four-year institutions, like colleges and universities, but they can also be found online. When the course is taken with a concentration in journalism, much of the last year is spent in classes that are geared towards journalism. The average cost of a year in one of these degree programs is between $8,000 - $21,000 per year. This cost depends on a wide variety of factors, such as whether you attend a private or public institution and where the school is located. Earning a bachelor's degree in mass communications will qualify you for many of the same positions as majoring in journalism, such as most entry-level positions in journalism, advertising, editing, or public relations, but you may be a bit more qualified for positions in television, radio, and other major forms of communication. For most employers, the two degrees are basically interchangeable.
• Bachelor's Degree in English – Majoring in English can also land you a job in journalism, though you will definitely cover some different topics. It may be a good idea to take a communications or journalism minor if you choose to major in English, as that will be a good qualification for any potential job. Though they may seem like vastly different subjects, they actually have a surprising amount in common. The biggest advantage to obtaining a degree in English is that you will get intensive writing courses that will sharpen your most important asset: your voice. You will learn how to research topics, find information, and formulate a cohesive story out of all that research. However, choosing to major in English may require you to demonstrate your ability to a greater degree to potential employers than if you possess a degree in mass communications or journalism. A degree program in English is almost always offered as a Bachelor of Arts degree. During these degree programs, students study plays, books, poems, short stories, and critiques of these works of fiction. Many times, these programs also incorporate the study of film and works of nonfiction, including well established works of long-form journalism. These programs take 3-4 years to complete. Courses that are commonly offered as a part of a Bachelor of Arts in English include: U.S. literature, African American writers, traditions of the novel, British literature, courses on Shakespeare, Medieval literature, development of the short story, philosophy and literature, and English composition. In general, there is a lot of reading and writing involved in this major. Being well read and honing your craft in writing long essays is a great way to prepare for a job in journalism. These degree programs are offered at most four-year institutions, like colleges and universities, but they can also be found online. The average cost of a year in one of these degree programs is between $8,000 - $21,000 per year. This cost depends on a wide variety of factors, such as how you manage your living expenses, the reputation of the school, and whether you attend a private or public institution. Earning a bachelor's degree in English will qualify you for many of the same positions as majoring in journalism, such as most entry-level positions in journalism, advertising, editing, marketing, or public relations.
• Master's Degree in Journalism – Those that are seeking out the highest ranking jobs in journalism may want to go the route of a master's degree program in journalism. Not only will a master's degree display your proficient knowledge of the field, but it will also allow you to specialize in new and emerging niches, like video journalism, technical writing, global journalism, media relations management, broadcast announcing, and news graphics and design. Another reason to pursue your master's is the option to teach upon graduation, which would give you an additional career path to pursue if things don't exactly work out in the field of your choice. A master's degree program also affords you the opportunity to learn about and gain experience with emerging technologies first hand. However, it is a widely debated topic whether or not going to get your master's in journalism is worth your time since hand-on knowledge comes at such a premium in the field. Still, earning your master's degree in journalism can lead to high level networking opportunities and chances to gain knowledge to which you may not otherwise have access. A master's degree program will allow you to earn valuable knowledge in specialized fields such as: new and emerging media, photojournalism, audio journalism, narrative writing, documentary writing, health reporting, investigative reporting, and science and environment reporting. A lot of these programs have adapted to emerging technologies and offer curricula that focuses on emerging trends like data-driven news reporting, using social media to report the news, and building news apps that can be optimized for smartphones. People have access to information 24 hours a day, so programs have had to adjust fast and some major institutions, like Stanford, Northwestern, and Columbia have lead the way in implementing new ideologies and technologies into their studies. Master's degree programs are most often offered as Master of Arts degrees and the program typically lasts 1-2 years, though some can last a little longer. Courses that would be taught in such programs have titles such as: public affairs and data journalism, journalism law, narrative journalism, sports journalism, computational journalism, foreign correspondence, investigative reporting, ethics and public purpose, podcasting, visual storytelling, and telling environmental stories. In addition to your coursework, a master's degree will require you to write a thesis, or a well-researched paper that puts forth a question related to the field and provides a cohesive argument that can be defended and will stand the review of peers. The total master's program can cost you about $40,000-$60,000 on average, but it varies by many factors such as whether you attend full-time or part-time, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student. Graduating with a master's in journalism will qualify you for all the top-level jobs in journalism, such as news director, lead editor, or an executive position at a newspaper, television program, or radio channel. Above all else, it's important for someone who is entering the field of journalism to go ahead and craft their own unique voice. Plenty of people are going to cover topics, especially the topics of national interest, but the way you frame that story and tell it in the news is what will draw your potential viewers, listeners, and subscribers.
To this end, internships and hands-on learning are essential to becoming a successful journalist. During your education, your program may require you to get an internship, or in many cases they'll expect you to have several hands-on experiences. This doesn't necessarily have to be a traditional internship, where you spend hours a week shadowing a professional that is performing the job you hope to have. Instead, this could mean working on one of the many different opportunities to report the news at the school, such as school newspapers, radio stations, yearbooks, or newsletters. However, you will need to have several experiences such as this because the best way to learn what works in reporting the news is to go out and do it, and to receive feedback from others that have done it for years! A great tip would be to make sure that your internship, or other real world experience, hones a specific technical skill or a whole set of skills that will help you in the changing field of journalism. For instance, a job that helps you hone your skills in HTML or CSS would be a huge benefit, or a gig that lets you help a company update and manage their social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In.