Pursuing Journalism

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by BeeaBoBo, Mar 10, 2011.

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  1. BeeaBoBo

    BeeaBoBo New Member

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    Hey, forgive me if this is a stupid question, but what kind of degree should I get if I wish to pursue a career in journalism? So far I have no college level education, so I would probably be looking into a bachelor degree.
     
  2. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

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    You should look into bachelor's degrees in journalism.
     
  3. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

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    Or just start a blog. Journalism is a dying field. Schools are actually offering courses through their j schools in social media and blogging. Seems you can learn that stuff without spending money on a class.
     
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    If you want to be a Journalist, or any kind of writer, then the #1 thing to do is to write. There are small newspapers/magazines in your area that would love to have submissions from a writer trying to break into the field. Local news, sports, film reviews, politics, etc. Start writing.

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    Then, pursue a strong Liberal Arts degree program. Don't CLEP out. You won't learn to write that way. Be an English major. Be a history major. Choose a subject area where you're going to be repeatedly put into a position of having to write and write and write. You don't learn to write by reading. You learn to write by writing.

    Oh yeah, and try to have fun while you're doing it. It matters.
     
  5. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator

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  6. Cero

    Cero New Member

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    Depends on whether you want to work as a full-timer for the mainstream media or as a freelancer (which could also be for the mainstream media).

    Generally speaking, the way into the mainstream media has been through internships done in college. Bricks-and-mortar journalism programs have traditionally been the way into the internships. Not sure how easy it would be nowadays even if you went this route. Business/financial journalism probably offers the most opportunities in this day and age. A degree in economics or business, supplemented by a few journalism courses, would probably lead to a good internship and possibly a job.

    Access to mainstream media jobs would probably be tough with a distance-learning degree, except possibly at very small media outlets, such as rural newspaper, which don't happen to pay very much.

    As a freelancer, things are more open. Again, I would do a degree in a substantive topic that you're interested in, and supplement it with journalism classes. Then you have a stronger knowledge base.
     
  7. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

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  8. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator

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    Well, it might open the door to a Master's degree at a solid B&M. Or might not??? I don't really know :smile:
     
  9. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

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    Journalism graduate programs are a lot like top MBA programs, they require work experience to be admitted. A degree from TESC and little-to-no impressive experience isn't going to get someone into programs like Columbia, Mizzou or Syracuse.

    I know three people that did the Journalism track at Harvard Extension and landed jobs in the field. One of them was an assistant to a professor at HBS (essentially his secretary) and he actually took a pay cut to go into journalism.
     
  10. agschmidt

    agschmidt New Member

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    I have an M.A. in Professional Writing from a B&M school. While my goal wasn't to go into journalism, a few of the people in my courses were interested in that field. I know most of them just wrote for small local publications - as mentioned above, your body of work and published material will be more important than your degree. If you're goal is to learn how to write (or write better), then a degree in English, Creative Writing, or Journalism might help. If you think this degree will be a magical key that allows entry into the field, you're mistaken.
     
  11. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator

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    Ah, good info. I almost went to school for Journalism myself all of those years ago. Good thing I changed my mind, apparently, since I would have gone to ABC State University.
     
  12. major56

    major56 Active Member

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    Kizmet provides some sound guidance as regards interest in the field of journalism. My wife majored in English as an undergraduate and completed her masters in journalism at San Diego State while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton. Back then if I recall correctly, her degree was a masters in journalism with concentration in advertising (?).

    San Diego State University – School of Journalism /Media Studies
    Areas of Study

    Here is a listing of The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) accredited programs:
    ACEJMC-accredited programs
     
  13. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq New Member

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    You can make a lot of money doing freelance writing. I always see ads for ghostwriters and article writing for blogs. I've even paid a few freelancers to write content for a couple of my sites.
     
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    Well, that might have been exactly the place to go. I mean, journalists are known for drinking a lot. :)

    -=Steve=-
     
  15. bookworm80

    bookworm80 member

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    You should definitely pursue a Bachelors in Journalism, but that's not all you should do! If you know you want to be a journalist, it's important to start thinking about what type of journalism, or what field specifically. For example, if you want to be a media journalist, it may also be key to minor in some sort of media-related field. It's also important to just start writing! A lot! About whatever interests you. Start a blog and update it consistently. This will show you are serious, committed to the craft, and will gain your followers. This is important to start now because you want to build a solid portfolio for after graduation. Also, writing for the school newspaper or newsletter and getting involved in extra curricular activities that can showcase your work in any way is always a plus!
     
  16. Jacob Perry

    Jacob Perry New Member

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    Excellent advice. I have about 50 college credits and make a full-time living as a freelance writer. If you decide to pursue an undergrad degree, I'd avoid a "journalism" degree and follow what Kizmet says here.
     
  17. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

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    I suggest getting a double major - one in journalism/writing and one in the area who would like to cover - (e.g.,politics, business, science).
     
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    "The problem with business journalism is that it's written by journalism majors." -- C.Nothing
     
  19. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

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    I worked as a journalist for more than 20 years in radio and television. I did not have a college degree. However, let me tell you right now that was the hard way of breaking into the field. I worked as a journalist in the military and that led to me getting my first civilian job in journalism. If you want to be a journalist, you really should have a college degree. It doesn't have to be in journalism, but you should take a few journalism courses if you don't go for a journalism degree. If you want to work in radio and television, you will need to take some radio/television courses to learn how to operate some of the equipment, at the very least.

    Working as a journalist is a tough life. The hours are long, you are on call 24/7, the pay is low. Very low. For many years I barely made enough money to support my family and had to work side jobs to make extra money. Competition is fierce, and it is a cutthroat business.

    I work in another field now, but still write on the side. I enjoyed working in journalism, but looking back I probably would have chosen another career path or got out earlier than I did, purely for financial reasons. Did I mention most journalists make no money?
     
  20. taraxt

    taraxt New Member

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    I'm a full-time writer too. My degree is in Nutrition. I had no difficulties breaking into freelance writing. It took time to build a portfolio and get the higher-paying jobs, but nobody cared about my degree. In fact, I never had anybody ask me about my educational background.
     

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