Journalism Career Requirements
Journalists report and interpret news, cultural trends, and other information. Above all, a journalism career requires curiosity, research, and communication skills. Curiosity can't be taught, but investigative reporting and writing can. A successful journalism career is equal parts talent, education, and experience.
Paving the Road
The standard qualification for a journalism career is a bachelor degree in journalism or mass communications. The core bachelor degree curriculum also offers an important foundation for a journalism career. Liberal arts courses in English, writing, sociology, political science, history, economics, and psychology build the broad, basic literacy that a journalist needs. A specialized journalism curriculum focuses this knowledge base, with courses in mass media, basic reporting and copy editing, journalist ethics, and broadcasting. Elective courses in foreign language, computer science and business may also be helpful.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Journalists may begin their career training as early as high school, as reporters for their school paper. Summer jobs and internships with newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news organizations offer many budding journalists their first big break. Rookie journalists initially help out with production or local event coverage, reporting on city hall meetings, court proceedings, or local sports events and entertainment. After paying their dues, they may advance to larger publications or media outlets, becoming columnists, correspondents, broadcasters, television or radio producers, or editors.
Journalism is a competitive field. Besides building education and experience, aspiring journalists can increase their opportunities by focusing on new media outlets. Online newspapers, journals, blogs, and other websites offer an exciting new medium for maverick journalists. Since online media is relatively novel, journalists can carve out a unique niche for themselves. The online format encourages innovative visual presentation and unique writing strategies such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which deploys keywords to secure search engine rankings.
There is no single road to a journalism career. Passion, practice, and a broad education are all part of a journalist's success story.
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