A Rewarding Career in Journalism
Storytellers have existed among human beings since the beginning of time. The first storytellers were the cavemen who etched crude drawings on the walls of caves, and have advanced over the centuries from the writers of historic manuscripts to present day sports reporters. Journalism is one of the oldest career fields out there. While many might not consider cavemen or writers like Nostradamus to be journalists, make no mistake they were storytellers just like present day reporters. Journalism jobs require an individual to not only posses a strong moral compass, but also have good research and storytelling skills.
College students looking forward to a successful career in journalism will find that a solid liberal arts program in college will provide them a stepping stone to a successful career. A well rounded liberal arts program will provide them with the ethical approach necessary as well as the general ability to research ideas and present them in a thoughtful manner.
Presentation is the key for any writer. Collecting information through research is something that can be done by most everyone, but disseminating that information to the masses through various forms of media is not nearly as easy. This is where a journalism program becomes vital for anyone hoping to find a journalism job. Journalism programs are designed to provide writers with a way to present information to readers in a manner that will be easily understood. A good writer knows how to present truthful information to the reader without distorting or altering the facts while also showing no bias.
Specialized degrees are critical to anyone hoping to land a journalism job after college. While a liberal arts education is important, a specialized education aimed at writers is even more important to potential employers. Specific journalism degrees are available at all education levels including the following:
- Certificate courses
- Associate’s Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Master’s Degree
- Doctoral and Ph.D
The type of degree an individual earns will directly affect the type of journalism jobs they are able to find upon graduation. In addition to a specific journalism degree, there are also other areas of study in college that individuals can earn a degree in and still find a journalism related job upon graduation. These areas of study include:
- Media Relations
- Public Relations
Often these other fields allow for individuals to find journalism jobs in a corporate environment as opposed to more traditional fields such as newspapers or magazines.
While many people can successfully hone their skills as a writer, finding a journalism job is one of the most difficult tasks job seekers face. Unlike other career fields that have a wealth of entry level positions, journalism has fewer entry level positions and many individuals competing for those spots. Those individuals hoping for a journalism job should consider the following tips as they prepare themselves for a career in journalism:
- Evaluate Yourself: Take your background into consideration when applying for your first job. Make sure to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and identify a position that your strengths will make you a shoe-in to land.
- Know What You Expect of Yourself: Conduct an interview of yourself to identify what you expect to get from your first job. Try to find out what form of media you want to work in (newspaper, magazine, internet), where you want to do it (small town or metro area), and what specific career field (editing, proofreading, etc) you want to end up in.
- Understand Market Needs: Make sure you find and apply for positions that work for you. Small town papers may lack the readership of larger papers, but they have closer knit communities that provide greater mentors for writers and the opportunity to develop multiple industry contacts.
- Be Well Read: If you want to make a career of informing people of news and information, you should probably be well read yourself. Strive to read as much as you can so that you are always in the know. A well informed writer is a good writer.
The above listed tips are not all inclusive, but they can be very useful to those individuals who are just starting out in pursuit of a journalism job.
Although the field of journalism has been drastically altered by the rise of the internet and mobile communication, many of the typical career fields still exist in journalism as well as some exciting new positions. Among the typical journalism jobs writers can expect to find are the following:
- Staff Writer
- Public Relations Specialist
Journalism jobs exist in a variety of fields ranging from traditional newspapers and magazines, to radio, television, internet, and mobile phones. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects many once popular career fields in journalism to grow slowly or decline in the coming years. For example, careers in radio broadcasting are expected to decline by 2018; while other journalism jobs related to the internet and mobile phones are expected to reach new heights.