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Career Information for a Degree in Communications and Journalism

Communications and journalism are generally found in bachelor's degree programs, though master's programs are also available. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

A bachelor's degree in communications and journalism involves learning about writing, speaking and editing techniques. Students learn about mass communication theory, and how to use the media to communicate with an audience. Practical experience can be gained by working on a college newspaper or through an internship.

Essential Information

Individuals who want to improve their writing skills and work in fast-paced, collaborative environments may consider a degree in communications and journalism. Graduates of these programs may work as broadcast news analysts, television reporters or advertising managers; they might also find related media occupations.

Career Broadcast News Analyst Television Reporter Advertising Manager
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Strong communication, writing and speaking skills Strong communication, writing and speaking skills Strong communication, writing and speaking skills
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 13% decline (for all broadcast news analysts) 8% decline (for all reporters and correspondents) 5% (for advertising and promotions managers)
Median Salary (2015)* $65,530 (for all broadcast news analysts) $36,360 (for all reporters and correspondents) $95,890 (for advertising and promotions managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Students who graduate from bachelor's and master's degree programs in communications and journalism have several job options. These include working as a broadcast news analyst, television reporter or advertising manager. Although these careers are quite different from one another, they all require strong communication, writing and speaking skills.

Broadcast News Analyst

Broadcast news analysts occupy the anchor desk position at a television news station, delivering stories and commentary to home-viewing audiences. The job market is expected to be fiercely competitive in this field between 2014 and 2024, with a wide variance in wages.

Job Duties

Broadcast news analysts establish the flow of a newscast between live shots from on-the-scene reporters, weather forecasts, sports or other segments, while providing interpretation and commentary. They interview guests in the studio, gather news information from wire services, write and edit scripts, and read local, national or world news stories on the air. Some newscasters may specialize in a subject area, such as financial news or sports.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% decrease in job opportunities for broadcast news analysts between 2014 and 2024. Intense competition for positions in large cities and top markets are expected. New media technologies should provide job opportunities, and broadcast news analysts with subject-matter knowledge and a willingness to relocate should have an advantage in the industry, the BLS reports.

The BLS reports that the median annual salary for broadcast news analysts was $65,530 per year in May, 2015. The industry did, however, show a wide range of potential salaries. According to BLS figures, the bottom ten percent of earners made $27,370 or less each year, while the top ten percent in this occupation earned $187,200 or more.

Television Reporter

Television reporters write, shoot, edit and deliver news reports as part of a news gathering team. This job field was expected to be in decline over the next decade, with competition for jobs increasing.

Job Duties

Television reporters often work in the field, covering breaking news events as they happen and setting up live location shots that air during the newscast. They may also work in the studio to give an introduction to a news package. Television reporters have hectic schedules, since they may be sent to attend events and interview sources at any time.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS predicts an 8% decline in employment of reporters and correspondents from 2014-2024; increased competition for reporter positions therefore is expected as the industry downsizes. In 2015, the BLS reported median wages of radio and television reporters were $36,360 per year.

Advertising Manager

Advertising managers supervise one or more departments involved in the creation of advertising campaigns. Jobs in this area were expected to increase at a slower-than-average pace, and those with technological skills should fare the best.

Job Duties

Advertising managers work with other agency supervisors and staff to oversee advertisement creation, manage client accounts, set budgets and obtain campaign placement in media outlets. Advertising managers may work for advertising agencies, media sales firms or for in-house advertising divisions of large corporations. Advertising managers must understand all aspects of creating a promotional campaign and work to motivate agency staff.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

The BLS expects employment prospects for advertising and promotions managers to grow 5% from 2014-2024, which is slower than average. Those with new media and digital technologies are expected to have better opportunities. The median salary for advertising and promotions managers was $95,890 per year, according to May, 2015 BLS data.

Degree Options in Communication and Journalism

Degree programs in communications and journalism introduce students to mass communication theory and the uses of media to tell stories, persuade people, sell products and promote ideas. A bachelor's degree is the typical level of education that employers prefer, but master's degree programs are also available in this area.

Students receive in-depth instruction in writing, speaking and editing techniques for a variety of media and take courses in media law and ethics, news writing and reporting, multimedia production and strategic communications. Students may gain hands-on experience by producing content for campus television and radio stations, writing for a college newspaper or completing internships at commercial media outlets.

With a degree in communications and journalism it is possible to pursue a career as a broadcast news analyst, reporter, or advertising manager. A degree in this field instructs students about how to use mass media to communicate with an audience, and that training makes communication and journalism students ideal candidates for these careers.

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