Journalism Career Information and Job Duties

Learn about the education needed to become a journalist. Get a quick view of salary prospects, job duties and career information to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

The field of journalism encompasses a variety of careers related to the dissemination of information. Journalists work as news reporters, writers, editors and publishers. Graduates of journalism programs might work for newspapers, websites, magazines, television stations, radio stations and other mass communication organizations.

Required Education A bachelor's degree in journalism
Projected Job Outlook (2012-2022) 13% decline*
Median Annual Salary (May 2013) $35,600*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Journalism Career Information

Journalists collect and disseminate information to the public. Popular careers in this field include newspaper reporter, copywriter, editor, news anchor, columnist or public relations agent. Most employers require a bachelor's degree in journalism. Some major newspapers and magazines prefer to hire journalists with several years of experience or a master's degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 13% decline in journalism jobs from 2012 through 2022 (www.bls.gov). This is due to the condensing of traditional media outlets, according to the BLS. However, newer formats like Internet sites and niche publications provide some additional employment opportunities. O'Net Online reported in 2012 that self-employment is common in journalism, with 13% of reporters and correspondents working as freelancers or stringers.

Job Duties

Specific job duties in journalism vary by job title. Reporters gather information on newsworthy events through observation in the field, research and interviews. Some broadcast journalists report live on air from the location of an event. General assignment reporters might cover city hall meetings, business openings, celebrity appearances or political rallies. Some reporters specialize in areas like health, sports, fashion, business or foreign affairs.

News analysts interpret the news from many sources and relay it to an audience through a television or radio broadcast. Correspondents report news from locations around the world. Some larger media outlets assign reporters to a specific beat like crime or politics. Reporters at smaller publications also might take on layout, administrative and editing duties.

Regardless of the specific job duties, all journalists must adhere to strict ethical policies and deadlines. Accuracy and timeliness are key aspects of news gathering and reporting. Increasingly, journalists must possess a working knowledge of computers and databases. People skills, tenacity and flexibility are other important traits of a journalist, according to the BLS.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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    • Florida (1 campus)

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • All degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree or higher
    • Post-Master's Certificate degree applicants must have a Masters degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Maryland (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • MA in Communication
        • MA in Science Writing

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED and completed some college. Master's degree applicants must have a bachelor's or higher.
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    • California (2)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Georgia (1)
    • Michigan (1)

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
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    • Minnesota (1 campus)
    • Washington (1)

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    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor - Digital Media Production
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Digital Media Production
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        • Associate - Radio Broadcasting

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
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    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
        • Broadcast Journalism
        • Print, Broadcast and Electronic Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics