Careers with a Journalism Degree


The primary purpose of this field of study is to prepare you for a career in journalism. Well, maybe you don’t want to be a journalist when it's all said and done.


Maybe, while you're still a student, you've gotten a taste of what a such a career could be like and you're going to pivot faster than a failing Silicon Valley start-up.


Or, maybe you've just graduated and decided you want to see what the working world has to offer outside of what you've already tried. For any number of reasons, you may choose to pursue a career in an alternate field.



What You Can Do with a Journalism Degree

In addition to preparing you for a career in journalism, this degree also enables you to gain skills that are highly valued in many other fields. Because of this, a degree in journalism field will serve as excellent preparation for your future, regardless of your choice of careers. 


So, if you’d like to know more about what your career options are, read on below. This career guide contains lists of careers that are both directly and indirectly relevant to this area of study. Included within the list items themselves are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other useful information.





What a Journalism Program Teaches You

By providing a careful mix of theoretical and practical education, journalism programs are meant to introduce you to the field of journalism as practiced across all forms of media, such as online, newspaper, magazine or broadcast.


As the landscape of journalism changes from print to digital, many journalism schools are in a period of transition. Some schools maintain a primary focus of concentrating coursework on the classic fundamentals - writing, reporting and editing, with a few digitally focused lessons begin worked into these traditional classes.


Other journalism schools however, are doing the opposite. They are using digital journalism as the foundation for the curriculum, and the basic skills of writing, reporting and editing are injected into these digitally focused courses.



Areas of Specialty in These Programs

Although journalism programs can be quite different from one to the next, most of them allow you to choose coursework that will help you develop an area of specialty, which could be in:


• A specific medium, such as digital, newspaper, magazine or broadcast

• A specific beat, such as sports, business, politics or international reporting

• A specific skill set, such as writing, editing or digital audience development



Employable Skills You’ll Gain for Relevant Careers

It’s important to know that no journalism degree program can possibly teach you everything you need to know to be successful in your future career; there’s just too much theory and application to cover, and too many nuances of the career that can’t be learned in a classroom.


It’s equally important however, to know that almost all programs in this field can arm you with the fundamental skills you will need to start building your career in journalism. The rest, you’ll pick up along the way. The skills a journalism program can enable you to learn include:


• Ability to differentiate between sources of high quality and poor quality

• Familiarity with software applications used for editing audio, photos, video, etc.

• Specialized knowledge in areas such as investigative reporting, feature writing or current affairs reporting

• News writing abilities

• Knowledge of ethics in journalism and reporting

• Ability to filter information

• Interview skills

• Ability to create story ideas



Professions Directly Relevant to Journalism

A degree in journalism is specifically meant to arm you with the skills needed to begin a career in journalism. It turns out, this is quite a broad field. So, let’s take a look at some specific careers this degree prepares you for:


• Assistant Editor

• Biographer

• Book Critic

• Broadcast Assistant

• Broadcast Journalist

• Broadcaster

• Columnist

• Copy Editor

• Court Reporter

• Editorial Writer

• Fashion Journalist

• Film Critic

• Financial Journalist

• Foreign Correspondent

• Investigative Reporter

• Journalist

• Managing Editor

• Music Critic

• Music Journalist

• News Anchor

• News Editor

• News Ombudsman

• News Writer

• Photojournalist

• Political Reporter

• Restaurant Critic

• Sports Reporter

• Sportscaster

• Television News Reporter

• Theatre Critic





Transferrable Skills You’ll Gain for Other Careers

Apart from the skills that are specifically meant for a career relevant to the subject matter, your degree will also enable you to gain transferrable skills that can be applied to careers in many different fields.


For example, journalism teaches you to be a good writer. It also teaches you how to ask questions, including the tough ones. Other transferrable skills include:


• Qualitative researching abilities

• Familiarity with software used for managing projects and information

• Writing and communication skills

• Written an verbal communications skills

• Time management skills

• Critical thinking skills

• Ability to operate within strict timelines

• Ability to recognize quality information

• Familiarity with social networks, blogs, RSS, and other means of staying connected to the community and the world



List of Careers Indirectly Related to a Journalism Degree

The fact is, that for a variety of reasons, many graduates end up pursuing careers outside of journalism. And as mentioned above, many students never intend to become journalists in the first place. Others may change their minds about their career in the midst of their undergraduate years, and decide that it’s too late, or too much of a headache to change majors.


There are also students that decide that the field is just too competitive for them, or that their romantic notion of what professional journalism includes doesn't match up with the reality of what the curriculum teaches. Others still may only see a degree in journalism as a stepping-stone to a graduate or professional degree, such as a law degree.


If you are among those who choose to pursue a career outside of journalism, consider these career options, as the transferrable skills you've gained are well suited for them:


• Blogger

• Consumer Advocate

• Creative Writer

• Elementary School Teacher

• Entrepreneur

• International Aid Worker

• Lawyer

• Mayor

• Medical Writer

• News Analyst

• Political Campaign Manager

• Programming Director

• Proposal Coordinator

• Public Information Specialist

• Publicist

• Publisher

• Science Writer

• Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Content Writer

• Speech Writer

• Staff Writer

• Technical Writer

• Tour Guide

• Travel Writer

• University Professor

• Web Editor



Marketing Yourself for Modern Journalism Careers

The future of journalism is digital, and that means it’s highly dependent on technology. New jobs are opening up as employers are recognizing a need for people who can bridge the worlds of journalism and technology.


For example, some job postings you will come across at media organizations include:


• Newsroom Technology Expert

• Manager of Search Engine Optimization

• Mobile Platform Development Specialist

• Data Journalist


To ensure employers find the right candidate for the job, they are putting less importance on the degree you have, and more importance on your skills. To become more marketable to employers, ensure that you have the skills they are looking for by taking the appropriate classes, as well as learning them on your own time.


To give you an idea of what these skills are, take a look at some skills that are currently listed on various journalism job postings:


Multimedia storytelling skills

• Knowing how to produce slideshows with sound, shooting and editing video and photos, writing for the web.


Data and statistical skills for storytelling

• Knowing how to collect, edit, analyze and interpret data to produce compelling interactive graphics.


Basic programming skills

• Knowing how to create compelling and functional pages that attract and retain audiences.


Media business skills

• Involves knowing how to help employers generate revenue without compromising ethics.


Audience development skills

• A marketing skill set that includes managing online communities, interpreting data on audience behavior, crowdsourcing for information, and interacting with the audience (such as responding to an article’s comments).



Gaining Relevant Career Experience as a Student

Pursuing an internship opportunity (also known as a field placement, field experience, practicum or co-op opportunity) in career fields related to your journalism degree is the best way to gain invaluable career experience while you are still a student.


If you are thinking of pursuing a career in journalism, do your best to get work experience in the field before you graduate. Even if you decide to pursue a career not directly related to your degree, this work experience will be very helpful. An internship in journalism has many benefits, including:


• A chance to apply all of the theory you’ve been learning in the classroom

• A chance to speak with people who share the same professional interests

• A chance to network with others in the field

• Making your own conclusions about a career in your field

• Strengthening your resolve to pursue your chosen career path

• Gaining valuable career related experience

• A chance to further develop your skill set

• Getting your foot in the door with an employer






How to Find an Internship

Many undergraduate journalism programs in Canada and the United States are committed to providing a well-rounded experience in their education. As part of that commitment, many of these programs help arrange internship opportunities for you.


If your school does not arrange such an opportunity for you, then speak with your professors, other journalism department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.


If you decide to pursue an internship from an outside source, be cautious, as many internship opportunities operate in the grey area of employment law, and are designed to use students as free labour in order to perform mundane tasks. 



How Much You Can Earn as a Graduate

The single biggest factor affecting how much you're going to earn as a graduate is...well, you. There's no stamped amount on your degree when they give it to you. Below are some of the factors that will influence how much you're able to squeeze out of your education on a yearly basis.


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The size and type of your employer

• If you are self-employed, work as a freelancer, or find permanent employment

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• If you take on side job, such as writing and editing

• Other skills you may have



Relevant Scholarships

If you're looking for help paying for school, don't be shy. Our database has several Canadian and American journalism-specific scholarships.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations

To find out more about careers related to your degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have job boards that advertise job openings.



Canadian Association of Journalists

Canadian Society of Magazine Editors

News Photographers Association of Canada


United States

Online News Association

Society of Professional Journalists

The American Society of Journalists and Authors



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