Is a Journalism Degree Right for You?

Majors like journalism, English, and communications develop your skills in writing and analysis. However, a career in journalism requires knowledge of the practice and craft of reporting. Online bachelors degrees in journalism can teach you that craft, from reporting and interviewing skills to using new media practices to employ at news organizations like newspapers, TV stations, and radio.

Headlines over the past few years have talked of the challenges facing these organizations, including declining ad revenue and audience, and, as a result, the field is a shrinking one. If your heart is set on a career in journalism, you will need a formal education in the field. Prospects should be best for those with experience, which can be gained through internships or working on school papers.

Advice for Earning Your Journalism Degree Online

As mentioned earlier, experience is key. Getting published and gaining work experience while in college can be crucial towards entering the workforce once you’re ready to graduate. Pursue online programs with internship requirements and school publications to write for, such as department magazines or newspapers. This will be helpful in building your portfolio of writing samples, which is a must when looking for a journalism job. Also, only consider programs that are accredited to ensure program quality and access to financial aid.

Required Courses

In addition to the general education core curriculum, journalism classes develop your writing, editing, and research abilities. Students will also develop competencies in technology and resources commonly used in the journalism field. Required courses may include:

  • Public Relations
  • Media Research
  • Media Photography
  • Editing
  • Reporting and Writing

Common Career Paths

Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism include:

Reporter

  • Expected Growth: -6 %
  • Average Annual Salary: $86,895

Reporters, or journalists, cover news and events happening on a local, national, or international level. This entails conducting research and interviews, creating contacts with experts who can provide tips, and analyzing information so that their audience can better understand it. They might work for print and online publications, such as newspapers, magazines, and blogs, or in television or radio. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes. Actual salaries can vary significantly based on your experience, education level, and other factors.

Copy Editor

  • Expected Growth: 1%
  • Average Annual Salary: $62,840

Copy editors come into play once a reporter has written a story and an editor has reviewed it. They review the copy for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as ensure that it’s readable, follows the house style, and isn’t potentially libelous. Copy editors work for newspapers, magazines, and online publications. They may also work for non-news organizations, such as businesses or publishers. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Public Relations Specialist

  • Expected Growth: 21%
  • Average Annual Salary: $74,350

Public relations specialists use many of the same skills as journalists — they pitch story ideas, write articles and blog posts, and interview news makers. But instead of objectively covering the news, they work for a client, such as a retailer, oil company, college, or even news publication. They are often the public voice of this client for the media, as well as the consumers and investors, and are found in nearly every industry and are often experts in their field. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Writers and Authors

  • Expected Growth: 6%
  • Average Annual Salary: $69,025

Writers and authors create original written material for a variety of outlets, including books and magazines, movie and television scripts, advertisements, and more. The writing skills you develop in a journalism program can help you succeed as a writer and the investigative research skills will help you develop better content, whether you are writing fiction, non-fiction, essays, scripts, or even songs. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Announcers

  • Expected Growth: 7%
  • Average Annual Salary: $44,545

Announcers work for television and radio programs, where they discuss news, music, or sports, interview guests, and provide commentary about the topics being presented. Most announcers have bachelor’s degree in journalism, or a related field, and draw on their interviewing and communications skills. While writing is not a big part of announcer positions, some announcers are involved in writing their show scripts. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

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