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Overview

Journalism is a hands-on, professionally oriented major that involves gathering, interpreting, distilling, and reporting information to audiences through a variety of media. Journalism majors learn about every conceivable kind of Journalism (including magazine, newspaper, online journalism, photojournalism, broadcast journalism, and public relations).

That's not all, though. In addition to specialized training in writing, editing, and reporting, Journalism requires a working knowledge of history, culture, and current events. You'll more than likely be required to take a broad range of courses that runs the gamut from statistics to the hard sciences to economics to history. There will also be a lot of lofty talk about professional ethics and civic responsibility as well - and you can bet you'll be tested on it. To top it all off, you'll probably work on the university newspaper or radio station, or perhaps complete an internship with a magazine or a mass media conglomerate.

We know it goes without saying but you'll also have to write an awful lot of articles if you decide to make Journalism your major. This is true even if you ultimately want to work in radio or television. If you don't enjoy writing, you probably won't like Journalism very much. Finally, take note: at universities with elite Journalism programs, time-consuming weed-out courses abound and you must be formally accepted into the Journalism program, which can be ridiculously difficult and competitive.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Broadcast Journalism

  • Communications Law and Ethics

  • Editing

  • Editorial Writing and Methods

  • Feature Writing

  • History of American Journalism

  • Investigative Reporting

  • Legislative Politics

  • Media Production

  • Photojournalism

  • Public Policy Issues

  • Radio and Television Reporting

  • Reporting and News Writing

  • Statistics


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

Obviously, any experience you can get with your high school newspapers or television or radio station will be helpful. You might take several English courses and join the yearbook staff so as to further polish your writing skills. Beyond that, try to develop a solid understanding of current events and, believe it or not, many Journalism programs require you to take a course in statistics and several foreign language classes. So, in addition to writing courses, take mathematics and a foreign language all four years.