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Major in Journalism
Article by Rachelle Wiggins
“God has given us the glorious task of representing him on the earth. Of showing the world what our God is really like…that our God is a creative master who loves to bring beauty out of chaos… When a writer assembles letters into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs …she is reflecting the image of God.” ~Stephen Altrogge, writer
Some individuals seem hard-wired for storytelling. They intuitively know how to capture attention, which details to share in order to create suspense and anticipation. Through tone and word choice, they leave their audience spellbound, hanging on every word. Journalism is the art of writing and reporting for the media. Though its goal is to inform the public, it hinges on stories that need to be told and is concerned with catching and holding the attention of a given audience. Journalism can be broken down into two subfields: print and broadcast. Under these subfields are various forms of media such as newspaper, magazine, blog, vlog, TV, radio, podcast and internet writing. As a major, journalism teaches you how to investigate, collect and present information. Part of the “collection” process includes gaining access to factual material, carrying out research, conducting interviews and synthesizing information. The presentation may be in the form of a news report, commentary, analysis or feature article. This interdisciplinary major delves into topics like global communication, law and ethics of journalism and the use of digital technology in media.
If you are a “word person” considering journalism as a major, you may also consider whether you possess other important skills and traits. For example, are you naturally inquisitive about the world around you? This investigative drive is what compels a journalist to persist in “pulling on strings” in order to gather information. Do you enjoy research (you will do tons of it) and communicate in a concise, logical, effective manner? Are you ready to grow in this area and if so, are you able to handle the criticism necessary to improve? Other important skills in this major--and ensuing career--include strong time management (in order to meet the many deadlines), professionalism and integrity.
As with many other majors, journalism requires you to complete a wide range of core credits. Once these requirements are met, you will start into courses related to your major and likely participate in interactive learning experiences, on-site visits to observe professional journalists in action and possibly an internship in a similar setting. You may gain experience by joining the campus photography club or working for your school newspaper or radio station. You may take electives that focus on very specific areas of journalism such as reporting on international crisis, or Middle East reporting. Other classes you may encounter include:
Journalism majors land in all sorts of fields. Some excel in marketing or advertising. Others land corporate jobs in public relations departments, or in politics as a spokesperson or social media specialist for a given party or politician. There will always be a need for strong communicators in all sorts of specific areas of journalism: science and technology, sports, health and fitness, entertainment, politics, business and finance, just to name a few. Other common career outcomes for this major include:
If storytelling runs thick in your veins and you love the idea of presenting an audience with clear, compelling content, then maybe God is directing you towards a major in journalism.