Associate Professor of Communications,
Pennsylvania State University, University Park
2019–2020 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program to Greece. Host: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Journalism is the practice of gathering information—via observation, interviews, and documents—that people need to know as citizens and consumers, or as curious human beings, and then sharing that information through the communication media. For a long time, an aspiring journalist could pursue one of two tracks: print media (newspapers and magazines) or broadcast media (radio and television). Now, every news organization has its own website that offers news in some combination of written, audio, video, photographic, and animated graphic formats. These same news organizations also deliver the news via their own social media accounts.
While journalistic training used to be on-the-job, reporters today are generally expected to have college degrees. Many universities offer bachelor’s degrees in journalism and some also offer master’s degrees. The emphasis at both undergraduate and graduate levels is on professional training: Students are sent out into the field to gather information for their stories, which in some cases are then made public through student-run media outlets.
Journalism students can also receive specialized training for the wide variety of jobs in the industry: as reporters, editors, opinion writers, photographers and graphic designers. It is no secret that there are fewer journalism jobs than there used to be, but knowing how to obtain information quickly and having the ability to communicate that information clearly and succinctly are rare and highly valued skills in multiple fields, including corporate communications, politics, non-governmental organizations, and law.
Photo Credit: Jana Shnipelson for Unsplash