When starting out in the academic journalism field, many students aren't entirely sure where their degree can take them. Throughout their college careers, they encounter several different methods of reporting and essay writing , each of which serve a different purpose in the working world.
As we'll discuss below, there are various opportunities for journalists today. Though print media is facing extinction, other forms of media are beginning to grow. Writers can go abroad, freelance for a number of clients, blog, utilize social media, become teachers, continue their studies, or they can take the more traditional route by settling with an established newspaper.
Each choice comes with a different aspect of the writing process. If you're still in school and you're not sure where you want to go afterward, you're going to have a difficult time catering your writing skills to a specific field. For example, if you know that you want to go into print media, you're going to focus on those classes and that style of writing. It's all about learning your craft.
That being said, let's explore your options.
1. See the World
Many journalism students determine their major based solely upon the fact that they want to travel. Writers are often sent to cover stories in foreign countries, such as France, England, Iraq, China, Japan, and India. While this is usually temporary, it's also possible to apply for positions overseas.
Students who choose this path need to focus on foreign language writing in college, especially language specific to the countries that they want to visit. For instance, if you want to apply for positions in France, you need to be familiar with the French language. You should also study the culture and mannerisms of these nations, as you'll find this information invaluable later down the road.
2. Settle at a Station
The traditional journalism route lands most students at major news stations, interning or working their way up the ladder. It can take almost a decade to get there, and that's only through hard work and perseverance. This option isn't for the lighthearted. You'll face competition, criticism, long hours, and minimal pay. But, if done right, the journey can be very rewarding.
Students who want to pursue this path should focus on reporting classes and strengthening their basic journalistic writing skills. It's very important that you are familiar with the rules of ethics, interviews, and crafting a newsworthy piece.
This up-and-coming option for journalism majors is a bit of a mixed field. You'll also find English majors, graphic design majors, and programming majors taking part in the fun. Freelancing allows for the freedom that many writers crave. You can find your own clients, make your own schedule, and work at your own pace. You can also work from home.
Students wishing to freelance should start meeting clients while they are still in school. They should focus on a variety of writing styles, including editorial and research pieces. You never know what a client might be looking for you to create. It also helps to familiarize yourself with news-related software, such as InDesign and Photoshop.
4. Blog and Utilize Social Media
The most difficult path of all involves blogging and marketing via social media. Journalism students seem to be the best at crafting short, interesting posts that capture the attention of their followers. The job is rewarding and fun. It also works like a freelancing job, meaning that you can set your own hours and work at your own pace.
However, it's challenging to make money this way. Students that want to develop skills in this field should take social media related courses, which will help them learn how to craft an eye-catching post.
5. Become an Educator
A number of journalism students start college with the intention of becoming a teacher themselves. Journalism is a particularly rewarding topic to teach, because the progress of your students is so apparent at such a fast pace. Teenagers and children are readily prepared to use computers and software, making the experience challenging but not impossible.
Journalism majors that want to pursue this career should take education related courses, and should learn how to write on an academic level as well as a journalistic level.
By learning which field interests you the most, you can make a smart decision about your future that is aided by the decisions that you make now. Explore your options, and build your schedule around your findings. It's the best way to prepare for what the world has in store for you.