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Becoming a Journalist

We’re excited to hear that you are interested in a career in journalism. It’s a field that is wide open, with many avenues and opportunities for careers in print journalism, broadcasting, online journalism, industry and corporate communications and beyond.

We suggest that if you choose journalism as a career, you do a couple of things. First, choose a college with an excellent communications program. This will allow you as much access as possible to the broader areas of communications and will allow you more contact with professionals already in the field.

Second, after you enter the program, choose your electives carefully. You will have a core curriculum of courses that are required for a communications degree. In addition to these courses such as writing, reporting and ethics, as a reporter you need a broad background in a variety of subjects. You will be writing about many different things, and the more you are exposed to the better your writing will be.

The only exception to this would be if you absolutely plan to specialize in a specific type of reporting such as business reporting. In this case, you should focus on electives in the area where you want to specialize. For instance, if you are considering international reporting, you will need foreign language courses. We suggest a basic accounting course for all journalism students. Most likely you will be asked to prepare some type of financial stories at some point.

Also, as soon as you set foot on your college campus, get connected with the student newspaper, television or radio station. In addition to classes and professors, this is an invaluable source of learning and preparation for a journalism career. You might also volunteer with community journalism groups. Tell them you are interested in what they do and would like to help out and learn a little in the process. You will probably be working for free, but this will pay off big in experience for the future.

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