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Career Development
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Journalism Major Careers

Journalism Career Information

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies

Newspaper Publishing

  • Reporting
  • Editorial/Column Writing
  • Feature Writing
  • Investigative Journalism
  • Sports
  • Online Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Circulation
  • Marketing/Promotion
  • Production
  • Large circulation newspapers
  • Local newspapers:
    • Dailies
    • Alternative weeklies
  • Wire services
  • Trade newspapers
  • Online publishers
  • Obtain an internship or part-time job with a newspaper.
  • Work with a college newspaper, yearbook, or alumni publication.
  • Take an active role, preferably leadership, in journalism organizations.
  • Demonstrate curiosity, high energy level, and the abilities to produce under pressure and withstand criticism.
  • Develop excellent grammar and writing skills. Learn to think critically.
  • Create a portfolio of writing samples, especially those that have been published.
  • Seek opportunities for recognition and networking through writing contests and freelance writing submissions.
  • Build relationships with campus and community leaders and athletes for interview opportunities and experience.
  • Learn HTML and other computer programs to prepare for online work. This area of journalism is growing while print is declining.
  • Become comfortable working in a chaotic, deadline-oriented atmosphere.

Magazine/Newsletter Publishing

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Advertising/Sales
  • Promotion
  • Circulation
  • Design, Art, and Production
  • Investigative Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Major publishers
  • Consumer magazines
  • News magazines
  • Specialized magazines
  • Technical and industrial publications
  • Professional publications/associations
  • Merchandising and trade publications
  • Labor unions
  • Academic journals
  • Corporate in-house publications
  • Religious organizations
  • Complete an internship with a publisher.
  • Seek experience with on-campus or community publications.
  • Find a part-time or summer job with a newspaper, magazine, or print shop.
  • Obtain sales experience.
  • Join a professional journalism organization.
  • Demonstrate creative spirit, writing skills, verbal skills, and proofreading ability.
  • Create a portfolio of writing samples.
  • Consider obtaining a minor in photography for photojournalistic specialty.

Book Publishing

  • Editing
  • Sales
  • Promotion
  • Publicity
  • Production
  • Subsidiary Rights
  • Publishers including:
    • Tradebooks
    • Children’s books
    • Paperbacks
    • Textbooks
  • Book clubs
  • University presses
  • Religious presses
  • Technical, scientific, or medical presses
  • Internet sites
  • Attend a summer publishing institute to sharpen skills and build contacts.
  • Become familiar with word processing, desktop publishing, and web page design.
  • Gain knowledge of printing and production.
  • Work with local or regional magazines and campus publications.
  • See employment as sales clerk or book buyer in campus or local bookstore.
  • Supplement coursework with technical writing courses for opportunities with technical, scientific, and medical publications.
  • Be aware that a large portion of publishers are located in New York City.

Writing

  • Technical Writing
  • Science and Medical Writing
  • Freelance Writing
  • Creative Writing Including:
    • Books
    • Poetry
    • Plays
    • Screenplays
    • Scripts
    • Greeting Cards
    • Lyrics/Jingle Writing
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Broadcast media companies including television, radio, and the movie industry
  • Internet sites
  • Trade, professional, or consumer publications
  • Technical industries
  • Large corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Universities and university presses
  • Self-employed/Freelance
  • Supplement curriculum with relevant courses such as creative writing or technical writing.
  • Write for campus publications such as college newspapers, magazines, or departmental/ program newsletters.
  • Gain as much experience as possible through volunteer positions, internships, or part-time jobs.
  • Join professional journalism or communications organizations.
  • Perfect clear and concise writing abilities.
  • Volunteer to assist or tutor students in a writing center.
  • Become familiar with the proposal writing and submission process involved in freelance writing.
  • Submit manuscripts, essays, articles, etc. for publication.
  • Read widely in area of talent and/or interest (e.g., mystery novels, poetry).
  • Demonstrate patience and persistence in starting a career in creative writing.
  • For technical writing, develop a good understanding of the subject you are writing about.

Electronic Media

  • Television
  • Radio Programming/Production
  • Electronic Publishing
  • Video Production
  • Major networks
  • Public, cable, and private television stations
  • National, state, or regional radio networks
  • Independent radio syndications
  • Video production companies
  • Government agencies
  • Large corporations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Professional associations
  • See “What Can I Do With a Major in Electronic Media” for more detailed information.
  • Gain experience with campus or local television and radio stations.
  • Secure an internship with a media corporation.
  • Develop a variety of technical and computer skills.
  • Create a personal website or blog to showcase work.
  • Choose a particular area of interest and build the skills and experiences necessary to qualify for that field.
  • Get involved with relevant student professional organizations.

Education

  • Secondary
  • Post-Secondary
  • Publication Advising
  • Public or private high schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Obtain state teacher certification for high school teaching opportunities.
  • Consider obtaining certification to teach additional subjects such as foreign language, social studies, or English.
  • Actively participate in campus newspaper and yearbook publications.
  • Volunteer to assist local high school students and sponsors with publications.
  • Obtain graduate degree (Masters and/or Doctorate) for college and university teaching opportunities.

Business

  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Special Events
  • Media Relations
  • Fundraising
  • Business Writing
  • Account Services
  • Print Production
  • Management
  • Administration
  • Advertising agencies
  • Corporate advertising or public relations departments
  • Media companies (e.g., Turner Broadcasting)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Labor unions
  • Work in sales at campus newspaper, television, or radio station.
  • Seek part-time or summer job with campus public relations or sports information department.
  • Gain experience in an area of interest through internships, part-time, or summer jobs.
  • Hone public speaking and communication skills.

Law

  • Prosecution
  • Defense
  • Litigation
  • Contractual
  • Corporate
  • Nonprofit or Public Interest
  • Mediation
  • Lobbying
  • Law firms
  • Sole practitioner
  • Government agencies
  • Corporations
  • Public interest organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Some students choose a journalism major in preparation for law school.
  • Develop strong research and writing skills through major courses.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and prepare for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
  • Secure strong faculty recommendations.
  • Participate in a debate or forensic team to hone communication skills.
  • Join pre-law organizations.
  • Work a part-time or summer job at a law office to gain exposure to the field.
  • Earn a law degree, the juris doctor, and pass the bar exam in order to practice law.

General Information and Strategies

  • Internships are crucial in obtaining experience, building relationships, and reality testing career choices. Utilize your alumni network to make contacts.
  • Begin cultivating creative talents as soon as possible. Develop a portfolio of creative materials related to career goals.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm, interpersonal skills, team work, integrity, good judgment, and intelligence.
  • Experience with campus publications is a must.
  • Develop excellent writing and grammar skills. Choose the most writing intensive coursework possible. Become familiar with Associated Press style and standard proof reading marks.
  • Read extensively in areas of interest.
  • The print publishing industry has declined significantly in recent years as many consumers turn toward other media outlets including television, radio, and Internet. Seek skills and experiences in these areas to qualify for a wider range of opportunities. For example, start a blog to hone computer skills.
  • Be prepared to begin a journalism career in a small market, performing entry-level tasks, before moving to larger markets and positions with more creative freedom and responsibility.
  • As the industry is tightening, applicants who have experience in a niche market, e.g. religious publishing, or outstanding technical skills, will be more competitive.
  • Minoring in business administration, political science, technical communication, natural or social sciences, sport management, cinema studies, or art media may provide greater job opportunities and complement the major.
  • Journalism is good preparation for graduate programs in communication, law, political science, and other fields that require strong writing skills.

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