Film Journalism Degree Program Information

Degree programs that emphasize film journalism offer instruction in visual communication theory, newswriting, storytelling, and photo editing. Hands-on courses teach students to use technology to create documentaries, reports, and investigations.

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Essential Information

Film journalism can be studied at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, often within degree programs in fields like journalism, video journalism, digital journalism, and photojournalism. Associate's degree programs teach both the technical and storytelling fundamentals of the broadcast news industry while bachelor's-level programs delve more deeply into these topics over four years and may require internships. A high school diploma or GED and transcripts, with ACT, SAT, or assessment tests in English and math, are required for entry into a bachelor's degree.

Students of master's-level programs may cross train in order to expand their journalistic skills. Graduate students learn about topics such as photo editing and multimedia journalism. Portfolio development and internships are additional aspects of these advanced programs. Master's degree programs require an undergraduate degree and possibly a portfolio of work and a professor recommendation for admittance.

Associate's Degree in Journalism

Some schools offer an associate's degree in journalism, while others offer a liberal arts degree with a focus on visual communication, photography or video production. Students learn the basics of storytelling, video equipment operation and production, electronic editing, camera techniques, photography and news writing. Along with required courses and electives, many schools operate in-house cable television stations and hold film festivals to gain hands-on experience. Some of the required courses include:

  • Mass communication
  • Introduction to video and film
  • Photography
  • Newswriting
  • Documentary storytelling
  • Digital film and video production

Bachelor of Science in Video Journalism

A bachelor's degree in video journalism teaches students how to tell a story using compelling images along with provoking commentary. Students learn about videography and photojournalism, as well as how to use video recording equipment and digital software. Internships allow students to gain practical and professional experience in filming, editing and presenting their work. Students work on producing projects for a portfolio that they can show to prospective employers. Courses may include:

  • Digital video
  • Broadcast reporting
  • Documentaries
  • Photojournalism
  • Editing
  • Journalism ethics

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Master's Degree in Digital Journalism

Graduate programs that focus on film journalism include a master's degree in digital journalism, photojournalism or journalism, allowing students to focus on a specific area of interest or cross-train in other areas of journalism. Many programs combine different skills, such as writing, photography and multimedia. Along with projects and internships, students increase their practical and technical journalism skills in courses such as:

  • Photo editing
  • Web design
  • Video journalism
  • Portfolio development and writing
  • Multimedia journalism
  • Internships

Popular Career Options

Graduates of associate's degree programs may continue their studies to earn a bachelor's degree. Or, they may seek specialized professional courses, such as certification in a specific editing program. Some of the career options available include:

  • New media
  • Online videos
  • Local news
  • Photography
  • Graphic arts

Individuals trained in visual journalism may pursue various career options. These include producing programs for public access channels on cable television and videos for websites. Other potential careers include:

  • News camera operator
  • News video editor
  • News program producer
  • Segment producer
  • Documentary filmmaker

With the growing popularity of new media and the Internet, along with the traditional medial, individuals holding a master's degree in journalism have a variety of career paths to choose from. Some may decide to work in the entertainment industry, in broadcast news or some other area. These career paths may also include:

  • Photojournalism
  • Long-form documentarian
  • Reporter
  • Producer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates employment opportunities for film and video editors and camera operators are expected to increase by 11% during the 2014-2024 time period. In May of 2015, the BLS showed a median salary of $55,740 for these professionals.

Job prospects for news reporters, correspondents and analysts are expected to decline by 9% between 2014 and 2024, based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) data. The BLS reported a median salary of $37,720 for these workers in May 2015.

Degree programs in film journalism are available at all academic levels, depending on the interest and experience of the student. These programs train graduates for careers as reporters or in producing or editing film.

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