Non-Newsroom Jobs for Journalism Graduates
These are challenging times for journalists. The old media institutions of television and newspaper have seen their once-loyal audiences fractured by the Internet, and the job market has become so unstable that CareerCast recently ranked “Newspaper Reporter” at the top of its “Worst Jobs of 2015” list. Broadcaster – a word that conjures images of Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, and Diane Sawyer – ranked just a few slots below.
Journalism students and those considering a journalism and mass communication degree might see those rankings and run the other way. No one would blame them. The news industry is a high-stress environment, and grads dreaming of their big break may become disillusioned by low-pay opportunities, increased responsibilities, and frequent moves around the country.
Here’s the good news: A journalism degree is more valuable than you might think.
“[Journalism] students are fortunate in that they develop a variety of skills that most employers seek,” said Ashford University Associate Professor Teresa Taylor Moore, who also serves as chair of the Journalism and Mass Communication program for Ashford’s College of Liberal Arts.
“Some of the principles of journalism are timeliness, accuracy, and balance,” Moore added. “These skills are transferrable to any field or profession.”
Journalism students and grads looking for opportunities outside of a newsroom might want to consider:
Journalism grads already have an understanding of how the media operates, they know how to tell a story, and they have a strong sense of how to engage specific audiences. These qualities often make journalists a great fit for public relations careers. While the workload can be intense, PR professionals generally work normal business hours – a stark contrast from the 24/7 news grind – and many become their own bosses if they launch their own firms. Plus, public relations is a growing industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This position is where your passion for writing can really pay off. Content producers handle the flow of information from company to consumer, and every business has a story to tell.
“The person with a degree in journalism and mass communication can help them tell that story,” Moore said. “Additionally, with the advancements in technology, students will find that there are many opportunities within digital and social media platforms.
Students looking for content producer roles may consider getting a head start while still in school. That means taking advantage of freelance writing opportunities, starting a blog, and paying extra attention in reporting and composition classes.
Students who want to tell stories but don’t want to follow the traditional newsroom path can write and report for specialized fields such as sports, entertainment, government, or business, according to Moore.
“The reality is that all fields have information that needs to be disseminated to the public,” according to Moore. “[A journalism] degree is especially useful for those who choose to chart their own paths by becoming bloggers and writers.”
Advertising and Promotions
While the ideal route to these industries may be through a marketing degree, journalism grads may find themselves a good fit for a company’s creative team. According to Moore, today’s students must learn how to analyze audiences and tailor messages for specific forms of media. Having the ability to engage customers through writing and presentation can lead to roles outside of journalism.
These suggestions are not intended to deter journalism students from pursuing their passion but instead to show their options aren’t limited to traditional media. Evolving technology may create even more opportunities for current and future students, as they are now required to understand and apply the skills necessary to be a reporter, photographer, videographer, editor, and producer.
“With such a variety of skills required, [students] are more well-rounded and more marketable,” Moore said.
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Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education