What is a Journalism Major and is it Right for Me?
Have you always been a natural writer? Do you love being persistent when talking to people? If you enjoy getting to the truth of a matter as well as putting in the work to research, write and edit stories about issues around the globe, the world of journalism may be for you.
What is a journalism major?
Majoring in journalism is a fast-paced endeavor, where you’ll be quickly learning the ins and outs of how to write a variety of different types of stories on many different topics. You’ll often be sent out into the field to work on your own, and you’ll have to come back with polished articles on quick, hard deadlines.
Is it right for me?
If the idea of getting to research, write and edit stories sounds great to you, here are several key questions to consider before you commit to majoring in journalism.
- Do I feel confident in my basic writing, research and editing skills?
- Am I someone who likes to spend lots of time fact-checking my work and making sure every detail is correct?
- Do I like reaching out to people (often through cold calls or emails) to interview them for a story? Am I persistent in following up with people to get what I want?
- Am I okay with not everyone liking a story I publish? How do I react to backlash?
- Am I able to handle and incorporate criticism and feedback from my professors and peers? Do I have a thick skin when it comes to my writing?
- Am I okay doing lots of my research, writing and editing by myself?
- Am I good at multitasking and working on multiple stories on a variety of topics at once?
- Will I dedicate myself to getting internships and jobs through college that will further my level of experience?
What can I do with a journalism degree?
Often people say that journalism is a dying field, but that can’t be further from the truth. While traditional print journalism might not be in the same place it was several decades ago, it is still relevant. Additionally, digital journalism has become more and more prevalent, and there are many different jobs out there for people with a journalism degree.
There are also many people with journalism degrees who work on the opposite side of the industry in public relations roles, pitching ideas and stories to journalists on behalf of clients.
Some potential career options include becoming a journalist, blogger, social media manager, broadcast journalist, communications manager, publicist, marketing manager, advertising copywriter, multimedia reporter, photographer and editor.
What do journalists earn?
Journalism is a field where salaries vary greatly based on where you’re located, what your official title is and the type of company you work for (for instance, a bootstrapped media startup versus and established magazine brand). Starting salaries typically run between $25,000 to $40,000 depending on those factors.
Many journalists also choose to go the freelance route, which affects your income from month to month. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a comfortable living; it just means that your salary won’t be consistent every single month, and some months may be tighter financially than others.
If you do choose to pursue a career in journalism rather than something like public relations or marketing, you’ll most likely be on the lower end of the salary spectrum, around $35,000 to $40,000 per year.