Guide to online Journalism degrees

TopJournalismSchools.org has several guides for students interested in working in the journalism field. Many journalism and communications can be found online as more schools move programs to the web. It is important to evaluate your variety of options. Some schools offer only communication degrees, while others have specific journalism degrees. Typically schools allow students to tailor both communication and journalism degrees to fit their needs.

Journalism schools teach students how to identify a story, conduct interviews, gather data, and write concisely. Journalism doesn’t just cover the written word. It also includes working in video or audio formats, as well as production jobs. Some journalism production positions include video editor, camera operator, and meteorologist. These jobs may require less reporting than a classic newspaper job, but they still involve journalist strategies and can be acquired through going to a journalism school.

Full Sail University . The Full Sail New Media Journalism Master's degree merges traditional journalism with emerging new media. Graduates will be comfortable publishing multimedia content. Social media will also be explored, along with the distribution of content across the digital domain. The curriculum is forward looking, and will enable you to compete for jobs that demand a new approach to journalism.
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Southern New Hampshire University . The Southern New Hampshire University MA in Communication program studies how organizations create and connect with their public audiences. Courses including Corporate Communications, Public Relations Campaign Planning, Writing for Public Relations, Electronic Public Relations, and Public Speaking prepare graduates to enter the public relations career. Graduates work in the government, profit, and non-profit sectors.
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What is Journalism?

Journalism is the gathering of information about specific subjects or persons. A journalist investigates and reports significant events through media channels. These channels may include websites, newspapers, magazines, broadcast television, radio, and more. In the United States, journalists consider themselves “the fourth estate of the people,” as they’re responsible for keeping the public abreast of important events in a meaningful and comprehensible way.

Currently the Internet is changing the definition of journalism. Since the Internet is growing more accessible, journalism programs are changing to accommodate new distribution prototypes. Journalism programs teach the writing and ethics of reporting in addition to web development, photo and video editing. They also include social media usage so that you’re well educated in these newer forms of journalism. Many journalists these days work in more than one medium. For example, a reporter might first post a short summary of an article for a news agencies website, then go on TV at midday and make a report in front of the camera, and finally write a full text story for the print newspaper before going home. On the other hand a photographer at a newspaper might gather audio and edit it, and later build a slideshow for the Web.

Journalism Degrees

Journalism schools offer a variety of different journalism degrees. The overall definition of a journalism degree is an undergraduate or graduate education that helps someone interested in covering news in a variety of different venues. Journalism degrees are centered on communication and English skills. Typically they involve a lot of writing to prepare their students for careers in newspapers, magazines, and web site publications. Journalism schools teach students skills that can be used for broadcast journalism, public relations, graphic design, digital film, and other related careers, too.

The following are some degrees that are offered at journalism schools:

  • Associates Degree in Communication: This is the lowest level of journalism degree you can get. It’s a two-year degree that prepares you to work in a number of journalism fields including television, newspapers, radio, and more. They also offer specializations in social networking and web video. It’s harder to get a journalism job with an associate’s degree than it is with a bachelor’s. This level of degree will just provide an overview of journalism education.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communication: This is a four-year undergraduate degree that focuses on writing, technology, and business. Typically these programs take a liberal arts approach to education, so you’ll take courses in math, science, and the arts. A B.A. in communication should prepare you for an array of journalism jobs. Many corporations need communication specialists in roles like public relations, writing speeches and press releases, responding to emails, building community through social networking sites, directing commercials, writing articles, and more.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism: A B.A. in journalism degree is a 4-year degree that is a specialized field within the communication industry. Classes in B.A. journalism degree programs including writing, visual media, and public relations. You can also benefit from classes that cover law and business, and other subjects. Those who graduate with this degree can become a writer or work in the television or radio industry. Some journalists travel around the world covering political events, war, fashion, food, travel, and more. A B.A. in journalism can also lead to careers in teaching, editing, producing, publishing, researching, and more.
  • Masters Degree in Communication: This is a one to two year graduate degree that allows students to qualify for advanced jobs in the communication field, which also increases their salaries. Typically students who enter a master’s degree program must choose an area of specialty like business, technical writing, reporting, broadcast media, photojournalism, or others. Coursework will cover both general communications and electives within the student’s chosen specialization. Classes also cover mass media, Internet technologies, and marketing. There are dual degree programs, too, that allow students to specialize in two specific fields such as social work, journalism or public health. Typically graduates with a master’s degree often work in leadership positions, as managers or directors of communication organizations or departments.
  • Master’s Degree in Journalism: The master’s in journalism degree is similar to the master’s in communication, although it’s more specialized in students pursuing careers as reporters, newscasters, editors, producers or more. Typically these programs focus on print, television, and radio news programming. Also lasting one to two years, students study core journalism courses such as writing and reporting, journalism and media law, digital media, feature and specialized writing, advanced research techniques, and media ethics. Through a master’s degree in journalism graduates should learn about the skills needed to find and evaluate sources, write news stories, and maintain ethical standards. They should also become up to date on modern Internet technologies. Often a thesis is required at the end of the master’s program.

Every school is different; therefore it’s important to evaluate a variety of programs so you can determine the best journalism degree for your career goals. When evaluating programs you can ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the professors have professional journalism experience?
  • Can students take classes in photojournalism, TV, audio and online media as well as reporting and writing?
  • What opportunities do students have to practice their skills?
  • Does the school operate a TV studio?
  • Is there a daily student newspaper?

Expected Salaries for Journalism

It’s extremely hard to narrow down an average journalist’s salary because of the amount and variety of jobs within the journalism and communication fields. This range in salaries also varies state to state and is based on the laws and ordinances of each community and population among this line of work. In 2008 news analysts, reporters, and correspondents held about 69,300 jobs. Around 53 percent worked for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers. Another 21 percent worked in radio and television broadcasting. About 19 percent of news analysts, reporters, and correspondents were self-employed as freelances or stringers.

The median annual wages for reporters and correspondents has been reported by The Bureau of Labor Statistics as $34,850. With a few years experience, journalists can expect to make salaries between $50,000 and $75,000. The median annual wages of broadcast news analysts were $51,260 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,000 and $88,630. On the other hand, median annual wages of broadcast news analysts in radio and television broadcasting were $51,890. In general, broadcast journalists can make significantly more than other mediums, with some obtaining yearly salaries as high as $150,000.

Scholarships and Grants for Journalism Students

Fortunately there are many scholarships and grants out there for aspiring journalists. These help pay for a journalism education at a journalism school. Monetary amounts are awarded to students based on merit, personal essay, one’s racial background, economic status, history, and more. Some journalism grant and scholarship options include:

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