Online Master’s Degree in Journalism

The roles and responsibilities of journalists are many and varied, and may include rushing to the scene of a breaking news story, painstakingly copy-editing a long-form feature, or creating multimedia for a news website. However diverse their job descriptions may be, journalists have developed a strong foundation in the cornerstones of the field: writing and reporting articulately, accurately, and effectively. A masters degree in journalism affords individuals the opportunity to develop, strengthen, and update their reporting, writing, and editing skills. A masters degree in journalism typically takes two years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs that let students earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years. Program length will vary based on the school students select and the number of courses they enroll in per semester.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Journalism

Journalism students will find and interview sources, record and edit sound, write radio and TV scripts, sharpen their writing and editing skills, and more ó and all under the pressure of a looming deadline. Master’s students can choose to delve into subject areas such as business and economics; government, policy, and politics; and health and science to deepen their expertise in these areas. Or they can choose to focus on media techniques such as videography and broadcast; magazine writing; editing and publishing; and interactive storytelling. Popular classes include:

  • Interactive Publishing
  • Broadcast/Video Reporting and Producing
  • Magazine Writing and Editing
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Newswriting

Real-world experience is a key component of the graduate curriculum. Some graduate journalism programs require students to complete capstone projects toward the end of their graduate career. These capstone projects give students the opportunity to complete advanced reporting and storytelling projects. For instance, they may create a new journalism-based entity, like a niche magazine, or intern with an international newsroom. Internships with newspapers, magazines, or broadcast stations will strengthen students’ journalism skill set.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Journalism

A bachelor’s degree in journalism or a relevant field, such as English or political science, is required to pursue a career in this highly competitive industry. However, a master’s degree can lead to greater opportunities. In recent years, masters degrees in journalism have gained popularity. Aspiring journalists, facing a dismal job market, more often pursue graduate degrees in this field. Certain positions may strongly prefer candidates who hold masters degrees in journalism; in some cases, this may even be a requirement. The industry is a varied one, and journalism graduates may work for a range of companies, from local newspapers to international outlets. They may become general assignment reporters, social media associates, foreign correspondents, magazine feature writers, and more. With a graduate degree in journalism, individuals may also opt to become professors, researchers, and even analysts.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment rates for news analysts, reporters, and correspondents will decline moderately ó by 6% ó through 2020. Broadcast news analysts reported average yearly wages of $76,370, while reporters and correspondents reported average yearly wages of $43,640. Note that salaries will vary widely based on experience, level of educational attainment, and location, among other factors.


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