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What is Journalism Really?

By Jenni

In theory what is it?

In a nutshell: learning how to disseminate information fairly, legally, clearly and concisely, with adherence to Associated Press Style rules.

What is it used for?

For a wider variety than people think—journalism majors go on to be newspaper reporters, copy editors, graphic designers, photographers, advertising execs, novelists, teachers, public relations execs, etc.

What does the major actually entail - work-wise?

What does the major actually entail—work-wise

Well, obviously you can expect to write A LOT. :) You must also have a good grasp of grammar before you start classes, because profs aren't going to have any patience for incomplete sentences, etc.

Required classes in my major included: Media History, Press Law & Ethics, Investigative Strategies, Photography, Editing, Layout & Design, as well as a myriad of different reporting classes.

What kind of jobs do you get with it?

See #2

Something really important about getting jobs, though:

You REALLY need to do as much hands-on as you can. Internships, fellowships, freelancing, student newspapers, etc.

You can tell someone how a newspaper works all day long, but you can't really understand it until you do it. Newspapers know this, and they really prefer at least one internship.

I had a full-time internship at a daily paper, two years in a senior position at my award-winning student paper, and lots of freelance gigs—and I STILL got questioned about my experience or lack thereof.

What are the fellow students like (personalitywise) in it?

Hmm. Can't really think of any "types" that dominated the department.

Common Misconceptions

When I tell people I majored in journalism, they often assume this means that I want to be on the evening news. JOURNALISM is different from BROADCASTING, which usually falls under the category of Mass Communication or Radio/Television/Film.

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Schools that offer Bachelors for journalism


Journalism Major unemployment rate

_JournalismAll Majors
Minimum Wage%3%4
All Others%89%87
More: Unemployment for all Majors *** not counting stay at home parents *** not counting those currently in grad school

Are things going well in Journalism?

Going Well %86
Not Going Well %14
More: All Majors Satisfaction ??? This is a social "life satisfaction" question. Overall, would people who graduated with a degree in Journalism say that their life is going well? It could be interpreted in terms of stress, salary, long hours, future prospects, etc. *** not counting those currently in grad school

Graduates who stayed in Journalism

Still in Field %60
Got out %40
More: All Majors Still in field ??? A high "got out" percentage can be interpreted a couple of ways -- for instance, perhaps the major is a great stepping stone to becoming a totally different career -- like a doctor. Or perhaps the jobs one gets with the major just aren't that great. *** not counting those currently in grad school
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I chose MSU because it had the onlyI chose MSU because it had the only accredited journalism school in Michigan and I couldn't afford to go out of state. (I attended in '94-'98.) But I am very happy that I made theRead reviewJournalismMichigan State University Reviews
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Any student interested in print Journalism must getAny student interested in print Journalism must get as much experience as possible out in the field. At NIU, this means working your way up on the Northern Star during your entire college career. IRead reviewJournalismNorthern Illinois University Reviews