Pursuing a Career in Journalism

How important is journalism to the American way of life? Founding father Thomas Jefferson once said, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." Must has changed over the past two centuries, but the importance of quality journalism has not. People who pursue careers in journalism must be critical thinkers and skilled communicators, and they must also be able to adapt in an ever-changing mass media landscape. Yesterday's newspaper journalists are now writing blogs, using social media and creating real-time Web videos. What might you become with a degree in journalism? Read on for more information that might help you decide whether a career in journalism lines up with your goals.

 

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  1. Which form of journalism matches my skill set?
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    Going into journalism can mean several things. First of all, do you aspire to be a reporter or a copy editor? Do you want to work in print, photo or video journalism? Do you want to work for a traditional publication -- such as a newspaper or magazine -- or would you rather work for a blog or website? You must study the different aspects of journalism to find the path that's best for you.

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  2. Does journalists make good money?
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    Journalism has never been known as a high-paying career. Journalists can make respectable wages by working for midsize daily newspapers, TV stations and high-profile news agencies, but many journalism jobs pay little compared to jobs in other fields.

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  3. Do I need a degree to be a journalist?
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    It's much easier to get a job in this field if you have either a journalism or communications degree. Like most fields, it's possible to break into this career with only a high school education, but you're likely to start out with much smaller gigs at a significantly lower pay grade.

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  4. What else can journalists do?
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    Journalism is an unstable field given the industry's economic volatility, so it's important to go into this career with an eye on diversifying your skill sets. Journalists who change careers often land jobs in communications for public and private entities, and many move on to work in marketing.

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  5. Which journalism schools are the best?
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    Three of the best journalism schools in the United States are Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts; The University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas; and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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  6. What is the best way to launch a journalism career?
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    Attending college is the best first step, but the real footholds in journalism come through freelancing, job shadows and internships -- all of which are easier to get through college networking.

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  7. Why is journalism regarded as so stressful?
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    Journalism is a deadline-driven job that requires reporters to often be their own managers. There is constant pressure to find and produce high-quality stories with minimal (or zero) errors, especially in the world of print journalism. It's a high-stress environment that's not meant for everyone.

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