Students interested in a journalism career gain the necessary skills during their undergraduate years. Often offered in a liberal arts setting, journalism undergraduate programs offer a plethora and diversity of topics related to journalism, from technical writing skills to the philosophical foundations of a free press. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to enter a bachelor's program, with strong ACT/SAT scores as well as writing samples sometimes being required. In some cases students also need to complete an internship to graduate.
Undergraduate Journalism Programs
An undergraduate degree in journalism offers students general training in the practices of the field, as well as concentrated study in an area of interest. Common courses include the following:
- Introduction to Journalism
- Broadcast Journalism
- Reporting and Interviewing Techniques
- Newspaper Editing
- Journalism Ethics
- Communications law
- Graphic Design
Graduates enjoy careers in a number of journalism fields, including print and broadcasting. Popular career choices include:
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that reporters and correspondents held more than 41,000 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov). From 2014-2024, employment opportunities for reporters, correspondents and news analysts were expected to decline 9%. The best opportunities were in small, regional broadcast stations and online periodicals. The publishing and broadcasting industries were expected to continue consolidating, while an economic downturn would negatively impact advertising revenue, causing the loss of many jobs.
Salaries in journalism vary widely. Reporters and correspondents had a median annual salary of $36,360 in 2015, while broadcast news analysts had a median annual salary of $65,530.
Continuing Education Information
Most employers in journalism value relevant experience and proven skill over advanced education. Additionally, experience is often the most significant method for advancement in the field. However, master's degree and Ph.D. programs in journalism are widely available and may expand a journalist's career choices. These programs are often pursued by individuals looking for roles in education, management or analysis, rather than writing or reporting.
Aspiring journalists have many options to consider in the way of specializations, and there are bachelor's programs designed around several aspects of the field. Experience is highly valued in journalism, though attaining a master's degree after undergraduate studies can also improve one's chances of employment significantly.