What Is The Best Degree To Become a Journalist?

JournalistThe ability that you have to track down a news story and your writing skills can help you as a journalist, but what is the best degree to become a journalist? Though some people still think that writers need a journalism degree, there are a number of people who found success with a degree in another field or skipped college completely. Before thinking about what you should study, you might want to give some thought to what journalists do, where they work and how much they make.

Duties of a Journalist

Some people think that journalists spend their days racing across the city and running around the world to track down stories and find out the truth. Most journalists actually spend a good portion of their week sitting behind a desk and scouring the Internet and other sources for story ideas. Before writing a single article, they must research the story. This might involve talking to witnesses, interviewing experts or finding statistics from government agencies. Journalists must have excellent grammar skills and the ability to edit their work.

How Much do Journalists Make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the national median salary among journalists, reporters, broadcast analysts and correspondents is $37,090 a year. According to the BLS, the number of journalism jobs will decline in the coming years. It found that the number of positions open will decrease by more than 7,000. As newspapers and other news agencies shut down in favor of online outlets, there will be fewer jobs available for those with the training and skills needed in previous years.

Where Journalists Work

In previous years, journalists worked for newspapers, magazines and news stations. They created content that people read in the newspaper and content that reporters talked about on air. The best degree to become a journalist in previous years was a journalism degree but that changed in recent years. Journalists now find more positions open online than they do in their local areas. News websites need writers who can take information from multiple sources and condense that information down into an easily digestible article. Some reporters found success creating their own blogs and websites. While there are still jobs available at newspapers and other traditional agencies, more journalists now work online.

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Do You Need a Journalism Degree?

The best degree to become a journalist isn’t necessarily a journalism degree. Most colleges and universities now let those majoring in other fields work for the college paper, the literary magazine, news station or radio station. Taking journalism classes while you major in a second field can help you find a job in a specialized or general field later. A computer science major might find a job writing articles for a technology blog, while a business major might create press releases for a major company. Journalism classes teach you how to identify good sources, write detailed, concise articles and interview others. While journalism is the idea major for someone who wants to be a journalist, if it is not offered as a major at your university, there are other avenues to becoming a journalist.