Your Online Resource for Journalism Degrees
Journalism applies not only to newspapers and magazines, but also to the growing field of online publishing of blogs and online news outlets. Journalism Degrees are also used in business, as one of the most important aspects of the operation of any business is well formed written communication.
Description of a Journalism Degree:
Journalism encompasses the reporting and investigation of significant events through media channels like websites, newspapers, and broadcast television channels. If you wish to become a journalist there are many different online journalism degrees you can acquire. These degrees include Bachelor of Arts in journalism and Master of Arts in journalism. Many schools also have mass communication specializations in both BA and MA programs that will lead you to a career in journalism. With such a wide variety of options through online education, you can easily become a well-respected journalist.
In the United States journalists consider themselves to be the fourth estate of the people. They are in charge of keeping the government accountable and bringing important events into the public awareness in a meaningful and comprehensible way. There are many different forms of journalism including radio, video and film, television, newspaper print, magazine, online, photojournalism, public relations, and social activist communications. There’s even production work that you can become involved with, like video editing, camera operation, and meteorologist careers. Journalism and mass communication degree programs will help you spot a story, teach you how to conduct interviews and gather data, and how to then transfer that information into an important and convincing story. It’s important that journalists write concisely so both deep readers and headline skimmers will understand the important points and details of your story. These online programs will also teach you numerous other important journalism skills. All journalism degree programs should include courses on web development, photo and video editing, and social media usages, as well as cornerstones like writing and the ethics of reporting.
The great thing about a journalism or communication degree is that it’s applicable to almost any career. Journalism and writing are skills that are valued by all business and non-business professions. As the world evolves and Internet becomes such an important aspect of all organizations, there are many jobs open in many venues for writers and social media personnel. The ability to communicate one’s ideas through the written word is key to any successful career, even if you don’t choose to become a journalist.
How To Choose the Best Journalism Degree Program:
It’s important to get your journalism degree through a program that is respected well so that you can earn some respect in return. Through a good BA or MA journalism degree program you should be able to gain some contacts in the field of journalism, have your name recognized from a respected institution, gain credibility in your writing, and have the opportunity to be published while getting your degree. Some items to consider when choosing an online journalism degree program include:
- Accreditation: One of the most important things to do is to make sure your online college is accredited. The ACEJMC, or Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, is a good source to use to see if the program you’re considering is accredited. Online degrees are becoming more accepted and widely prevalent, but it’s still important to look out for scams to ensure that you get a reputable degree.
- Qualified Instructors: It’s important to look into the professors of a journalism degree program. You want a program’s employees to be qualified as journalism instructors. Reading through their profiles and looking for their work online are two ways that you can for qualified instructors. It’s also wise to select a program that has professors that you’re interested in learning from. For example, if you don’t like the way an instructor does their own personal journalism, than chances are you won’t enjoy learning journalism from that instructor. You need to make sure that your online journalism professor understands the concepts of journalism and will be able to provide you practical guidance to your personal career ambitions.
- Flexibility: Online journalism degree programs offer you flexibility with taking classes and in communicating with your professors. Through online chat groups, videos, social media networking, and email it’s easy to stay connected. Even so it’s important to know the availability and flexibility of your online instructors. Since you won’t be able to communicate face-to-face, you need to know how to get in touch with them and how often they’ll be available for advice, questions, or concerns. Make sure the instructors of your program will be responsive and can provide you with direction.
- Career Opportunities: When looking into online journalism degree programs you should look at alumni reports. Journalists need contacts and a network—find out what opportunities your degree program offer and what career experience alumni have had. It’s also good to see what types of contacts instructors may be able to provide upon graduation.
Getting a journalism degree can be expensive. It’s important to look into your potential programs and see what kinds of financial aid options are available. Most schools offer scholarships and grants. There are also external organizations that have journalism scholarships. Your potential program’s financial aid office may be able to assist you in looking for these options.
What is the Curriculum of a Journalism Degree?
Since there are a variety of online degree programs for journalism, there are differences within curriculum. This is a basic overview of what most journalism degrees will focus on through their program curriculum.
Most journalism degree programs have a few core courses that are required for all students to take, regardless of the type of journalism they wish to do in the future. These courses may include:
- Introduction to Journalism
- Mass Communication
- Writing, Reporting and Ethics
- Visual Communication
- Communication Law and Ethics
- Media and Gender
- Diversity and the Media
- Mass Communication and Pop Culture
- International News Media
- History of American News Media
- Theory of Mass Communication
There are also practices of journalism that will be taught through your degree curriculum. The Committee of Concerned Journalists outlines core principals of journalism and verification that all good journalists should use. Some of these principals and practices of journalism that should be taught in your program include:
- Research: In all journalism it’s important to back up your writing with research and factual information. Your degree program will teach you the proper way to research credible sources, and how to correctly site those within your writing, audio clip, film, Internet site, or whatever form of journalism you choose to work with.
- Reliable Sources: You journalism degree program will also teach you how to find reliable sources. Not every source is reliable. You should realize that your sources themselves should also have good credentials, and they should be getting their information from reliable sources, too.
- Reference: In journalism you shouldn’t make statements without a reference. Your degree program will teach your correct referencing techniques. You’ll also be encouraged to use links through online journalism so you can attribute information to a reliable source.
- Credit: Similar to referencing, you must give credit to others when you use their words or get information from them. You should avoid plagiarism at all costs. Even when you take general information from online through web sites and blogs, you still need to credit the source.
- Balance: Balance is a very important part of journalism, and your program will definitely encourage balance within your reporting. Considering the other side of your case is important. It’s also good to realize that not all sources do have the same credibility, and that not all sides have the same weight of evidence supporting them. There is no such thing as true objectivity, and neutrality is hard to find in reporting. Instead, the goal of journalism is to do your best to keep personal bias out of your reporting.
- Other elements that your program will teach include proper grammar and usage, logical organization, and AP style writing. They’ll also encourage you to build a portfolio and an online presence through blogging and social media. Writing good work and then drawing attention to it is one of the most important elements in becoming a respected journalist.
Careers with a Journalism Degree:
There are many ways you can use your journalism degree after graduating. Journalists work for newspapers, magazines, broadcast radio and TV stations, film companies, online media, and more. The Internet has made it possible for almost anyone to become a writer. Since many respected organizations now have online presences, you can still gain a respectable independent journalism career through the web. “Citizen journalism” is one of the ways people enjoy getting involved in independent online journalism careers. To build your independent career in journalism, it’s good to follow these seven news values to help you determine whether something is important to be writing about.
For a full view of employment opportunities for a journalist, check out The Bureau of Labor Statistics page for news analysts, reporters, and correspondents.
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