Regarding Journalism

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Regarding Journalism
By Cmpdia (Cmpdia) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:01 am: Edit

i know this may sound totally off-topic but I was just wondering if people that major in journalism actually go on to have good paying jobs after getting their college education. I myself am considering to major in this field but as of now I'm not sure whether this is going to be a successful career. Any input from anyone majoring in journalism or even people who know about this major will be appreciated.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:36 am: Edit

IMHO, it depends what your concentration is in the field. A lot of the times, it depends on the company you are working for too. In broadcasting for instance, if one was to anchor @ CBS, they would probably make more money than someone working @ a local Channel 3 station.

Ultimately, the education doesn't make the money, the experience does. As a journalism major, I have done my research and discovered that there ISN'T one school that dominates in the field of journalism, although some (like Northwestern) are more prestigious and expensive than others. There are many people from a diverse group of schools including state colleges and ivies that work in the journalism field and in fact, some people major in something else like English, Education or Psychology.

I am attending one of the best j-schools in the country although everyone will claim that their institution is. Although UNC Chapel Hill will provide me with a quality education, just the fact that I majored in journalism doesn't guarantee me anything; especially if I don't land a big job in a major media market. It's all about what YOU put into your work and experience.

As people get older actually research, they find out that some people don't find jobs in their major and still come out fine. They will also find that every business, law, or medicine major won't find a good paying job either; it's all up to the individual.

With that said, I would concentrate on a particular field and research a lot of the companies you're interested in. The more famous they are, I would assume the more money you'd get.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit

Your journalism skills can be used in other industries beyond the press and broadcasting. Corporate communications, human resources, public relations, advertising, book publishing and information services are some areas, for starters.

By Cmpdia (Cmpdia) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:30 pm: Edit

Journalism seems like a very interesting career and I guess I'm just worried that I'm not going to get a job after college due to the competitive nature of the job. What are the chances of someone getting in for some "major" company like CBS, CNN, etc..? What kind of experience are they looking for? And approx. how much do they get paid?

By Kk19131 (Kk19131) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:53 pm: Edit

Here's something interesting from my school:

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Collegeparent is right: Journalism can easily be applied at other jobs. I was a journalism major (Syracuse) but after working briefly at a small newspaper (the typical first job of a journalism major is NOT going to be working the NY Times or for CNN!!!), my next job at school was actually in marketing research - my writing and interviewing skills were what got me that job.

Next, I moved into marketing communications- writing ads, training materials, and doing public relations- for a Fortune 500 company. Eventually, I ended up as Vice President of Marketing for a large financial institution...funny thing is, I am now back to journalism - I've been a freelance journalist for a decade and love the freedom and flexibility (and decent income) it provides.

My advice for anyone planning to major in journalism is to (1) do as many internships as you can - and try to do at least one internship that is not in "journalism" per se (i.e., public relations, advertising, marketing) to give you a feel for other avenues besides being a newspaper reporter or a broadcast journalist, (2) build a portfolio of writing samples from internships, volunteer positions, and student publications (3) take at least a few business courses, especially in marketing (4) keep your options open as to what you will do with your degree after college. Good luck!

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit

Well said Carolyn. Like I said, some people find jobs in journalism who majored in something else and some people who have majored in journalism work in various fields.

"I guess I'm just worried that I'm not going to get a job after college due to the competitive nature of the job. What are the chances of someone getting in for some "major" company like CBS, CNN, etc..? What kind of experience are they looking for? And approx. how much do they get paid?"

Yes, if we are talking about the BIG companies like ABC and CBS, it is going to be very competitive. However they ALWAYS have job openings and big markets like that will never be closed; very few people notice that there are job openings across the nation depending on your willingness to relocate. I guarantee that if you went to any of the affiliated sites, then you would find available jobs. I wouldn't limit myself to just "one" area. Before I graduate I will be sending resume tapes to stations in North Carolina, NY, Pennsylvania, DC and MD; that's about 20 tapes that I have to send out. Depending on your resume and skills in the field, you MAY land a job. If you read the bios of some of the anchors in broadcast news, a lot of them got their first jobs just helping and filling in for others at top news stations or their affiliates.

As far as experience, the requirements (for anchors/reporters in broadcast news) are as follows: a bachelors degree, 2-3 years MINIMUM experience doing what you're applying for and a unique personality (I added that last one)
Interning is always the best as Carolyn said. If you can't intern, then just being active in your j-school's media clubs may count. Weigh your options and you may find that you may like advertising or organizational communication better than writing/broadcasting.
I'm not TOO sure about salaries, but it looks like it's a good living.

Consider what everybody else has to say as well. Regardless of suggestions or our life stories and experience, you still should research exactly what you want to look in to. Once you have that knowledge, you can determine what you really want to do.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:04 pm: Edit

...and if you want to know where I'm getting my info from, just let me know and I'll post the site OR an example from the site.

By Pinkearmufs (Pinkearmufs) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:57 pm: Edit

what would you say is the average starting salary of a journalist?

By Cmpdia (Cmpdia) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:34 pm: Edit

Yodististim and Carolyn I really appreciate all the help that you've given me. As for the site, could you please post it so that I can look into it a little bit further? Thanks

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:23 pm: Edit

Sure, no prob; I'll be glad to help.

What I will do is list just 4 websites from ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates from around the country. They will list the job requirements similiar to those that I listed above. In order to establish a diverse group of sites stating basically the same thing, I randomly picked these places from around the country.

This is the FOX affiliate in San Diego, CA

This is the ABC affiliate in Buffalo, NY

This is the ABC affiliate in Decatur, IL

This is the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, NC which also has links to other cities

I didn't bother to put links from UPN, WB, or NBC etc. so again, just keep in mind that MOST major cities have a CBS, FOX, UPN, etc. There are ALWAYS jobs at these places that offer various employment opportunities that include public relations and advertising.

Now, as far as j-school goes, there are many great schools and some stick out more than the others. I'm sure you're familiar with Northwestern, Syracuse and Missouri, but there are other prestigious institutions such as Carolina (Go HEELS) and NYU that offer excellent programs. However, to show that NO school truly dominates this field and that there is not only a diverse group of schools as well as "their start in the career" I picked the NBC affiliate for Washington, D.C.

You know, it's kind of funny. None of the anchors/reporters/meteorolist went to Syracuse, Mizzou, Carolina, or Northwestern. I'm not saying that their aren't some places that aren't dominated by the main institution in that area (ex. Chapel Hill dominates CBS affiliate in Raleigh, NC) but I am saying that experience goes far beyond the name.

Anyway, I hope that these are some type of help. You can always email the stations too if you're concerned about salary.

Signing off, YoDisIsTim

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:26 pm: Edit

I'm not saying that their aren't some places...


Whew! I can't be making THAT mistake anymore! LOL

By Pattykk (Pattykk) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:44 pm: Edit

There is some discussion of this topic in the archives if you do a message search on journalism in the Parents' section (text of message).

By Poison_Ivy (Poison_Ivy) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:32 pm: Edit

What about a foreign correspondent? Because that's my dream, to work for BBC or ABC News London and be their foreign corresponding journalism.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:46 pm: Edit

I'm not too sure. Maybe Carolyn can help you out with that one.

By Bettina (Bettina) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 10:00 am: Edit

Journalism is notoriously underpaid and difficult to break into. As others said, you can go into business or other places with a J degree, but in you want to be a journo, be prepared to pay dues at little pay.

Do you read Romenesco? They often have articles and commentary on the inside nature of j jobs.

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