Many people imagine journalism students moving towards a job in newspapers or television reporting, but these are only a few of the many career options available to recent graduates. The ability to identify newsworthiness, conduct research and create compelling messages is a valuable trait in any industry. With the diversity of career options open to them, journalism students are often encouraged to explore these subject areas and specialize in ones that broaden their professional value.
News Research and Reporting
While newspapers and other members of the conventional media industry have suffered setbacks in recent years, there is still a demand for driven and skilled journalists. Reporters may cover regional news, focus on a specific industry or participate as part of a larger team at a network. Television news and online media still rely heavily on research, interviews and reporting work done by journalists at or around the scene. Qualified writers can also contribute to news or trade publications on a contract basis as a full-time freelancer or to supplement income from another career.
Public Relations and Marketing
Many of the journalism students who don’t go into news ultimately pursue a career in public relations or marketing instead. These professional apply their communications skills to help organizations better communicate with customers, their employees and the general public. There is an active need for PR people throughout every major industry, which means a lot of opportunity and flexibility in determining location. Job growth for public relations specialists is expected to increase at an average rate in the years ahead with a median pay of around $60,000 a year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Journalists who have an inclination for more complex or field-specific subject matter can also seek employment on technical projects. Technical writers are responsible for creating a lot of documentation in various government agencies, so there are often job opportunities at the regional and federal levels. Businesses also rely on the work of technical writers for drafting and developing communications for use throughout the company. In many cases, it’s their responsibility to take complex terminology and jargon from technical professionals and translate it into something appropriate for a more diverse audience.
Content Development and Social Media
The internet may not be made of paper, but it’s still completely reliant on the written word. Despite the spread of videos and pictures, search engines still rely on content to actually classify and identify websites to guide users towards. Content marketing isn’t just about search engine optimization for websites, but this is certainly an evolving factor that digital companies need to address. Content managers often find themselves taking responsibility for social media marketing as well, since this role requires frequent writing and communication.
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A good journalism program prepares its students to enter a competitive and evolving job market with their feet on the ground. Understanding the trends in modern media and the job options available in other industries allows graduates to find the coursework, internships and samples they need for their future resumes. Journalists who are willing to learn, adapt and take on new challenges can find dozens of career opportunities outside of traditional news media.