Online Degree Programs for Journalism

Journalism is a means by which professionals recount events and share opinions on current issues through several modes of mass communication, including newspapers, television, magazines, radio, and online outlets. Journalism is a broad field that encompasses many types of reporting, including standard news reporting as well as investigative reporting, war correspondence, community journalism, sports reporting, society reporting, and celebrity journalism. Journalism is a good fit for individuals who are curious about the world around them, enjoy speaking with people from all walks of life, and who are excellent written and oral communicators. While journalists over the years have learned the trade through traditional journalism schools, dubbed J-Schools, students today increasingly have the option to attend online degree programs in journalism, which allow them to attend journalism classes from their home computers or anywhere else they have Internet access. The best online degree programs in journalism are those offered by J-Schools that were already renowned for their traditional programs, but have successfully converted their campus-based courses to an online format.

Online Associate Degree Programs for Journalism

An online degree program in journalism at the associate degree level is a good option for students who want to complete their first two years at a community college in preparation for transferring to a four-year journalism program. For example, the Associate of Arts in Journalism offered by Front Range Community College allows students to complete their general education requirements at a lower cost with the intention of transferring them to a bachelor’s program. Associate degree programs in journalism may include courses in contemporary news media, writing and reporting, information gathering and analysis, e-journalism, copyediting, and design and pagination. While a few community colleges may offer associate degree programs entirely online, it is more common for two-year colleges to offer on-campus courses, with a few courses available in online format, or a hybrid program in which students complete some elements of their program online and report to campus occasionally for classes and exams.

Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Journalism

Online bachelor degree programs in journalism are four-year programs that provide a well-rounded education through general education requirements as well as major courses in journalism. Students also have options to complete their degree in less than four years through online accelerated degree programs. For instance, the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers an online journalism studies bachelor’s degree that allows students to earn up to 30 credits for life and work experience, which can shave off some of the time it typically takes to earn a degree. Students may take courses in news writing and reporting, e-journalism, photojournalism, media law and ethics, media history, public relations, and digital editing. A bachelor’s degree is a good choice for aspiring journalists, as employers typically prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Online Master’s Degree Programs for Journalism

Online masters degree programs in journalism are typically designed for seasoned journalists who wish to update their skillset for a modern world. A long-time print newspaper editor, for instance, may wish to return to school to learn skills in online journalism, citizen journalism, and new media. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg, for example, offers a fully online master’s program in digital journalism and design that features courses in multimedia reporting, digital media technology, digital audio and video production, and more. Other online masters programs are targeted toward mid-career journalism professionals who wish to advance in their industry or teach at the college level. Such programs conclude in either a master’s thesis or a professional project, depending on the student’s career goals, and include courses in qualitative and quantitative methods in journalism research.Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Journalism

Online college degree programs in journalism are not commonly available at the doctoral level, as they require close collaboration with faculty that is best accomplished in a traditional format. Ph.D. programs in journalism incorporate advanced courses in mass communication theory, and explore how mass media impacts culture and vice versa. Students will also take advanced courses in research methods and statistical analysis that will benefit them in their dissertation research. At the end of their course work, students must pass one or more comprehensive exams, which may be written and/or oral, that test their knowledge of all content areas explored in the doctoral program. Finally, students in a Ph.D. program in journalism complete a dissertation, a lengthy document detailing their original research into a relevant area of journalism.

Online Degree Programs in Journalism in the Work Place

Students who earn a journalism degree through accredited online degree programs may pursue a variety of journalism careers, including general assignments reporters, managing editors, sports writers, news producers, financial reporters, copy editors, production managers, page designers, science writers, editors-in-chief, and multimedia reporters, to name a few. Common careers include reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts. The median annual salary for reporters and correspondents was $34,530, while the median salary of broadcast news analysts was $54,140 in May 2010, according to the BLS. Keep in mind that actual salary is highly dependent on factors like a reporter’s experience, size and type of employer, and location. Reporters and correspondents can expect employment in the field to decline moderately, by 8%, between 2010 and 2020, while broadcast news analysts can expect employment growth of 10% in that same decade.