Investigating and reporting news is a proud tradition that’s inextricably linked to democracy and civil rights. Students who decide to pursue online degrees in journalism will learn the essential skills of properly sourcing information, expertly interviewing sources, carefully interpreting facts, and writing well, along with delivering the news through modern communications media. Those who opt for careers in broadcasting will also learn to present themselves on camera. Reporters typically earn a median salary of around $36,000, while broadcast reporters earn significantly more, approximately $53,000. The following is a ranked list of the best schools offering online degrees in journalism. Continue reading to learn more about choosing an accredited journalism program, careers in the field, and answers to frequently asked questions.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Journalism Degrees
Distance students seeking bachelor's degrees in journalism will find that these 24 colleges offer the best value based on affordability and alumni salaries. Ranked #1 is New England College, with a reported mid-career salary of $100,777. Tuition for New England College's BA in Communication/Journalism is $12,150 per year. Southern Utah University, ranked #2, offers an annual tuition of only $6,006.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
The online Bachelor of Arts in Communication program at New England College offers a concentration in journalism for students wishing to pursue an education and career in the discipline. Students in this concentration complete coursework in journalism, investigative reporting, and multimedia writing and editing. A workshop in feature writing instructs students in creating content in different genres, including travel, sports, and politics. The curriculum of the program is intended to prepare graduates for a career as a news journalist, copywriter, book editor, public relations specialist, or technical writer.
#2 Southern Utah University
Annual Tuition: $6,006
Median Salary: $87,109
Locations: Cedar City (UT)
The online bachelor's degree in communication at Southern Utah University offers students a number of options in pursuing their education in the discipline. Students can choose from one of three concentrations — media studies, messaging & human interaction, or strategic communication — or a composite degree combining the fundamentals of the three concentrations. Within each path, students can also choose to study a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, with the former focusing on communication theory and the latter on practice in the field. In addition to general education requirements, the three concentrations require the completion of 40 credit hours, while the composite degree requires 62. Though not a requirement of any path, the communication department encourages student participation in internships. Approved and completed internships count toward the degree's elective credits.
#3 University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Median Salary: $87,837
Locations: Amherst (MA)
The University of Massachusetts offers a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism Studies through its University Without Walls program. Through this initiative, students can complete their bachelor's degree entirely online and have the ability to transfer or earn up to 105 credit hours with coursework completed at another college or university, prior learning, and work experience. Coursework includes instruction in the modern fundamentals of journalism, including reporting, writing for multiple platforms, digital media, ethics and law in journalism, visual storytelling, and genres of writing. The online bachelor's in journalism requires the completion of 120 credit hours.
#4 University of North Dakota
Annual Tuition: $11,970
Median Salary: $87,653
Locations: Grand Forks (ND)
The online Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of North Dakota provides students the opportunity to focus their education in the area of study best suited for their academic and professional goals. A concentration in digital journalism is available to students in the program. The online format does not include set login times and allows students to complete coursework at their convenience. The degree requires the completion of 120-credit hours, including electives, required courses, and an internship. In addition to normal, semester-based coursework, students can choose to enroll in Self-Paced Enroll Anytime courses, which are completed within three to nine months.
#5 University of Colorado Denver
Annual Tuition: $15,270
Median Salary: $86,262
Locations: Denver (CO)
The online Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of Colorado Denver offers studies in journalism and media writing within the broader scope of modern communications. The curriculum includes courses in mass communication, rhetoric, research methods, professional communication, multimedia authoring, and ethics and law in mass media and communication. Graduation requires the completion of 120 credit hours, including 39 communication credits. Coursework is accessed through the university's online portal and may include lectures, assignments, real-time class discussions, quizzes, and exams.
#6 University of Iowa
Annual Tuition: $8,073
Median Salary: $83,259
Locations: Iowa City (IA)
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa has an online Bachelor of Science in Sport and Recreation Management with a concentration in Communications, Public Relations, and Journalism. This program requires 120 credit hours and incorporates foundation classes, field electives, and courses specific to the concentration. Subjects covered in the program include business writing, sports writing, and social media marketing. The field experience requires 45 hours of supervised or independent study per semester. Online courses may be instructor-led or self-paced. Some require specific login times and use video-conferencing software like Zoom and Virtual Meeting. Asynchronous classes don’t require a specific schedule commitment but rely on a student’s own time management to complete assignments and readings. Students are encouraged to engage in online discussions. The University of Iowa has veterans and military student services, online orientation modules, online resources for the library system, and an IT help desk with an online chat feature. First-year students may apply for fall or spring semester by submitting ACT or SAT scores and a completed application (and fee). Applicants qualify as transfer students if they have at least 24 previous college credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
#7 Arizona State University
Annual Tuition: $15,900
Median Salary: $85,827
Locations: Tempe (AZ)(and 4 others)
Prospective journalism majors at Arizona State University (ASU) may consider the online Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Media Studies. ASU's online journalism program shares the same faculty as the on-campus programs. Most classes are asynchronous and rely on students to hold themselves responsible for completing assignments by the due dates. The BA in Mass Communications and Media Studies is hosted through the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and requires 120 credit hours. The curriculum is 41 classes covering subjects including politics, sociology, economics, history, and technology. Courses are taught in 7.5-week sessions. There are six start dates throughout the year. Applicants without previous college experience can apply as first-year students; they must meet a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement and have achieved at least a 22 ACT score or an 1120 SAT score (24 and 1180 respectively for non-Arizona residents). Transfer students must have at least 12 credits of previous college coursework. The complete application requires transcripts, test scores, an application form, and a fee. If a student can’t meet these requirements, they can access the Earned Admission Pathway. This program allows students an opportunity to gain admission by earning a minimum GPA of 2.75 in a series of online courses. Online students will be assigned an academic advisor and have access to a 24/7 IT help desk. Graduates from ASU Online are welcome to join the on-campus graduation ceremonies.
#8 Lynn University
Annual Tuition: $9,000
Median Salary: $80,550
Locations: Boca Raton (FL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Lynn University’s Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media is a fully online degree for aspiring journalism majors. With the flexible online schedule, students can continue working while obtaining their degrees. Lynn’s online courses use iPad-friendly content and tools available through the Canvas learning management system. Online students have access to resources from the Lynn library, IT support services (with hours Monday through Friday), and personalized academic advising. The curriculum in the BA program includes both theory and practical application. Students will have the chance to complete internships and a senior capstone project, which can take the form of a research paper, a video, or other creative interpretations. Students also develop a portfolio of work while completing the degree. The total bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, which includes 39 elective credits. Faculty have real-world experience and assist students in internship experience and networking. Applicants don't need to submit test scores, and credit may be awarded for previous college or professional experience. Incoming first-year students must submit a completed application, personal statement, and official high school transcripts. Students qualify as transfer students if they have earned at least 12 college credits.
#9 DePaul University
Annual Tuition: $31,440
Median Salary: $89,499
Locations: Chicago (IL)
DePaul University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media degree completion program for transfer students seeking a journalism degree. The program requires 192 total quarter credit hours. Accepted students may take either a two-year course load or a three-year course load, depending on how much credit is transferred to DePaul. Courses include topics in public relations, news reporting, and business communication. Seniors are required to complete a capstone project. Online classes share the same faculty as the on-campus versions. Content is managed by the D2L learning management system, which gives students access to course materials, including readings, quizzes, discussion boards, and grades. Online journalism students have access to an academic advisor, tech support (with hours Sunday through Saturday), library resources, tutoring, and the career center. To apply, students must hold a minimum of 45 quarter hours (30 semester hours) of previous college credit with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students must also have completed prerequisites in writing, science, modern language, and math. Transfer students may enroll in fall, winter, spring, or summer terms. Official transcripts and a completed application are required.
#10 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Annual Tuition: $9,637
Median Salary: $76,311
Locations: Carbondale (IL)
Southern Illinois University- Carbondale hosts an online Bachelor of Science in Journalism. The program, housed in the School of Journalism, is a traditional four-year degree and requires 120 total credits. It follows the same curriculum as the on-campus version. Courses cover subject areas such as advertising, copywriting, and journalism law. Online classes employ audio and video lectures, assigned reading materials, and exams. Courses run in four-week, eight-week, and sixteen-week terms, allowing students the option to take classes at a pace that suits their commitments. Courses are facilitated with D2L learning management software. Online students have access to the SIU help desk, including a live chat feature. They may also use Morris Library’s online resources and the Online Writing Lab. The journalism program offers continuous enrollment, so students may apply and start the program in any semester. Incoming first-year students must have a high school degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA or an ACT score of 23 (SAT equivalent score of 1140). Official transcripts and a completed application are required. Transfer students must have at least 26 credits of previous college experience with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
#11 University of New Mexico
Annual Tuition: $10,795
Median Salary: $76,548
Locations: Albuquerque (NM)
The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of New Mexico (UNM) is offered entirely online and includes a concentration in Strategic Communication. The online degree is an accelerated program operated through a partnership between the Department of Communication and Journalism and the College of Arts and Sciences. The major courses equal 45 total credits, and classes run in eight-week sessions. Subjects covered include media ethics, strategic writing, and social media. Students may choose to pursue an elective internship component. The full degree requires 120 total credit hours. Courses in the online journalism program are facilitated with Blackboard learning management software, and students are responsible for completing assignments on time. Discussion between students and faculty is encouraged. UNM’s online programs are certified by Quality Matters, a quality assurance standard for online education. UNM online students have access to 24/7 IT support (via phone), tutoring services, and an ‘Ask a Librarian’ feature. Applicants with an associate degree or at least 60 credit hours of previous college credit are well-poised for admission, as general education requirements must be completed before applying to the accelerated online program. Students must have at least a 2.5 GPA to be considered. Prospective students submit a completed application (with fee) and official transcripts.
#12 Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Annual Tuition: $14,280
Median Salary: $76,935
Locations: Fort Collins (CO)
Colorado State University's Fort Collins campus has an online Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Communication for prospective journalism majors. Students in the program discuss the role of the media, improve their writing skills, and learn how to use digital technologies. The curriculum includes an internship component (the students choose the organization) and a capstone course. The capstone course includes guest speakers and resume building workshops. It is a degree completion program, and a total of 120 credit hours is needed to graduate. CSU Fort Collins uses the Canvas learning management system for its online courses. Through this platform, online learners have access to real-time and pre-recorded classes. Online students can benefit from the adult learner and veteran services, free Microsoft Office 365 products, academic advising, a career center, resources from the Morgan Library, and IT assistance (through phone and e-mail). Online students can even participate in student government. Applicants can submit materials for the fall or spring semester. Students must have earned at least 72 credits outside of the program to apply. Transfer students must meet a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement (2.9 preferred) and submit a completed application (and fee).
#13 Southeastern University
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Median Salary: $75,482
Locations: Lakeland (FL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Journalism majors seeking an online bachelor’s degree may apply for the Bachelor of Science in Communication and Mass Media from Southeastern University. The full undergraduate program requires 120 total credits and can be completed in four years. It is a faith-based program that incorporates a liberal arts general education core and major classes. There are study abroad opportunities in international photojournalism or global communication classes. Students may also select an elective internship. The online journalism degree is offered asynchronously, with no on-campus requirements. Online programs at Southeastern University have start dates in spring, summer, and fall. Semesters run for 16 weeks, with two sessions of eight-week classes in each semester. As such, online students only take one or two classes every eight weeks. Online students have access to enrollment counselors, tutoring services, career services, and resources from the library. Classes are run through Brightspace, a D2L learning management program. Students may transfer in up to 90 credits. To apply, candidates must submit a completed application, official high school transcripts, a personal essay, one personal reference letter, and ACT or SAT scores.
#14 Regent University Online
Annual Tuition: $11,850
Median Salary: $74,053
Locations: Virginia Beach (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Those seeking a faith-based journalism degree may consider the Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Regent University Online. The total degree requires 120 credit hours and features a concentration in Journalism. Alongside general education and communication major requirements, journalism students complete classes in reporting and professional editing. There is also an internship component and a capstone seminar. Online learners access materials through Blackboard learning management software. Most classes are asynchronous, though Blackboard Collaborative provides tools for real-time lectures or team-based discussion. Courses run in eight-week sessions. Distance education students may access resources in academic advisement, career and talent management, disability services, and mental health counseling. Experienced faculty take time to mentor students throughout their studies. Applicants can enroll in eight different sessions throughout the year. A completed application, an application fee, a completed questionnaire, and unofficial transcripts are required for admission.
#15 Indiana Institute of Technology
Annual Tuition: $12,120
Median Salary: $74,134
Locations: Fort Wayne (IN)
Indiana Institute of Technology (Indiana Tech) delivers online programs that are instructed asynchronously, allowing students the flexibility to take courses when and where it’s most convenient for them. Classes run in an accelerated five-week format. Materials and distance education tools are facilitated by Blackboard learning management software. Online students can access the Indiana Tech 24/7 IT help desk, resources from the McMillen Library, and the Career Center. Prospective journalism students may apply for the Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Broadcasting. The program is hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences. Students have the opportunity for experiential off-campus workshops and presentations. Classes in the Journalism track include podcasting, media ethics, and video storytelling. The total degree requires 120 credit hours, which includes general education requirements and electives. An internship component is included where one credit equals 40 hours of real-world practice. Seniors also complete a capstone project. Undergraduate admission requires a completed application through the College of Professional Studies and official transcripts.
#16 SUNY College at Oswego
Annual Tuition: $8,480
Median Salary: $72,238
Locations: Oswego (NY)
Online learning at SUNY College at Oswego is available through Blackboard learning management software using asynchronous tools. Classes run in fall and spring semester for 15-week terms, with shorter terms throughout the summer. All course requirements are offered online, and students may plan their studies around their personal and professional obligations. Online students may access SUNY Oswego’s nontraditional student services, including veteran services, an academic planning coordinator, and assistance from the IT help desk. Students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism online can apply for the Bachelor of Arts in Broadcasting and Mass Communication. It is a degree completion program with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. The program can be completed in two years if taken full-time. The major requires 42 credit hours and includes classes in media marketing, radio production, and public speaking. SUNY Oswego has rolling admissions so that students may apply at any time. As it is a degree completion program, only transfer students with an associate degree in a similar field or the equivalent in transfer credits will be considered. Transfer students must submit official transcripts along with their completed applications.
#17 Webster University
Annual Tuition: $23,200
Median Salary: $77,167
Locations: St. Louis (MO)
Webster University has campuses across the United States, giving online students an opportunity for face-to-face classes locally should they choose. Those seeking a flexible, online journalism degree at the undergraduate level can apply to Webster’s Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications with a concentration in Journalism. Offered through the Webster University School of Communications, this degree is designed as a degree completion program. The curriculum covers a variety of modern media technologies. The format is delivered asynchronously; courses are taught through a learning portal called WorldClassRoom (WCR), managed by Canvas. The WCR platform strives to deliver customized online classes that maximize the connection between faculty and students. Students may take one or two classes each term in a part-time or full-time capacity. Classes are available in eight, nine, and sixteen-week terms. Online students can access individualized academic advising, career services, and assistance in developing a professional portfolio. New online students also receive orientation materials and technical support. Interested students must already have earned 64 credits from a community college or through a completed associate degree program. Applicants should have at least a 2.5 GPA. Admission is considered on a rolling basis, and prospective students need to submit a completed application and official transcripts.
#18 Wilmington University
Annual Tuition: $11,430
Median Salary: $71,514
Locations: New Castle (DE)
The Bachelor of Science in Communication from Wilmington University is available online and provides prospective journalism majors with a concentration in Media Communication. The Media Communication track aims to prepare students with the skills required for print, broadcast, and digital journalism. The curriculum includes coursework that lends to the Certified Professional Technical Communicator Exam. The full degree includes general education courses, the communication core, electives, and concentration requirements. It includes a co-op experience and a senior seminar. One hundred twenty credit hours are required to graduate, and a degree completion option is available for transfer students. Online courses at Wilmington University use Canvas learning management software. Classes run in seven-week or 15-week terms with classes available in spring, summer, and fall. Courses use asynchronous tools such as discussion boards and e-mail, and students must complete work on a weekly basis. Online students can access technical assistance, including live chat. Also available are an online student orientation, a Canvas mobile app, and online library resources. With classes starting every eight weeks, students can apply at any time. Undergraduate admission requires a completed application (with fee) and official transcripts. Test scores are not required.
#19 Fisher College
Annual Tuition: $11,850
Median Salary: $69,000
Locations: Boston (MA)
The Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Fisher College combines theory and real-world practice for its prospective journalism students. Available entirely online, classes use Blackboard learning management software and operate in six, eight-week terms. Online courses use Blackboard Collaborative tools, which require students to have a webcam and headset for active participation in class. Online students receive support services, including career services, academic advising, access to the Writing and Academic Support Center, accessibility services, and library resources. The BA in Communication and Media Studies is a traditional four-year program with classes in advertising, public relations, and business. Students develop their professional writing and web design skills and also conduct research. There are also optional minors in marketing or social media. Seniors will take a senior seminar. The entire program requires 120 credit hours to complete. Candidates should submit official high school and college transcripts and a completed application form. Classes start in September, November, January, March, May, and July.
#20 Bellevue University
Annual Tuition: $13,175
Median Salary: $65,515
Locations: Bellevue (NE)
Prospective journalists can apply to Bellevue University’s online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Applied Science in Communication Studies. Both degrees have a concentration in Mass Media. The learning outcomes for the online communication degrees involve applying communication theory, analyzing an audience, and engaging in effective oral and written discourse. The full BA program is 127 credit hours, which includes general education courses, major requirements, and concentration courses. The BAS is similar but requires just 124 credits. Seniors in both programs will complete a communication studies capstone. Additionally, all students complete the Kirkland Signature Series, a nine-credit collection of courses that study Western civilization and its values. Students complete work asynchronously at a time that works best for them. Online participants engage in discussion forums and peer review, housed in Bellevue’s Cyber-Active classrooms. Students receive all lessons, assignments, articles, and discussion through this platform. Bellevue’s online students have access to career services, military and veteran benefits, 24/7 technical support, disability accommodations, and resources from the Freeman/Lozier Library. Applicants must submit a completed application (with fee) and official transcripts. Bellevue offers open enrollment and personalized support from an admissions counselor.
#21 Brenau University
Annual Tuition: $19,530
Median Salary: $65,189
Locations: Multiple Locations
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies at Brenau University is a traditional four-year undergraduate program available entirely online. Major classes include topics such as diversity in media, business writing, reporting, public relations, and film. The curriculum includes liberal education requirements, major courses, and electives. A total of 120 credit hours is necessary to graduate. Classes are self-paced and use the Canvas learning management system. Each online course runs in a condensed, seven-week term. Most work is completed asynchronously, allowing students the flexibility to continue working. But some interactive group work may be included. Online students receive professional tutoring support, an IT help desk, access to a writing center, academic advising, and career services. Brenau University has open enrollment so students can apply anytime. Admission requires candidates to submit official high school transcripts with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Transfer students should submit transcripts for any previous college work and should have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
#22 Liberty University
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Median Salary: $61,382
Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Liberty University has a faith-based, online Bachelor of Science in English and Writing with a concentration available in Journalism. Students are able to continue working full-time due to the program's flexibility. Classes run in eight-week terms. Online learning is facilitated through Blackboard learning management software. It follows an asynchronous format that lets students complete work at their own pace and doesn't require them to attend class at specific times. Online learners have access to Adobe products, an IT Helpdesk (with hours Sunday through Saturday), an online writing center, professional mentorship, e-resources from the Jerry Falwell Library, and free tutoring. The online BS in English and Writing requires a total of 120 credit hours and can be completed in 3.5 years. Program classes focus on topics, including classic literature, grant writing, grammar, and technical writing. The Journalism concentration covers social media writing and strategic communication. All students complete a senior capstone project before graduating. Transfer students may submit up to 90 credits toward the bachelor’s degree at Liberty University. Applicants must submit a completed application and official transcripts.
#23 Eastern Oregon University
Annual Tuition: $11,340
Median Salary: $55,921
Locations: La Grande (OR)
Eastern Oregon University (EOU) Online hosts a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a concentration in Media Communication. It is a four-year program that requires 180 quarter credit hours to graduate. Students take classes in public speaking, news media, and social media and complete a research seminar and capstone project. Online students at EOU receive personalized attention from faculty and advisors. Students complete online work at their own pace, allowing them the flexibility to continue working and taking care of family obligations. Faculty members are available for real-time appointments through live-chat features and video calls. Online classes use Canvas asynchronous tools, though some may meet live (synchronously) on occasion. Distance learners can meet with enrollment counselors and tuition planners, receive disability accommodations, and access specialized services for active military and veteran students. EOU’s online community is also welcome to participate in student advocacy groups. Transfer students may submit up to 135 credits from previous college experience. Interested students must submit a completed application (with fee), official transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores (if applicable).
#24 Upper Iowa University
Annual Tuition: $14,130
Median Salary: $57,002
Locations: Fayette (IA)
The Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Upper Iowa University is offered entirely online and includes a concentration option in Mass Media. This program's curriculum includes real-time reporting experience and practice in writing a range of print and media articles. Offered through the School of Arts and Sciences, the BS in Communication Studies major requires 12 core credits and 33 emphasis credits. Seniors must complete an internship, seminar, or final project. Online courses are facilitated by D2L’s Brightspace learning management system, through which students receive and submit all assignments. Coursework is completed asynchronously, though students can interact directly with faculty as needed. Students may enroll at the beginning of each calendar month. Online learners receive 24/7 technical support through D2L, academic advising, military tuition assistance, and resources from the Upper Iowa library system. Classes run in six terms (two in fall, two in spring, and two in summer). Undergraduate admission requires a completed application (no fee), official transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores.
Online Journalism Degree Overview & Career Information
There are a variety of online degree and certificate programs available for those interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Online degrees in journalism include associate degrees, Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism, Master’s of Arts in Journalism, and online journalism certificate programs. Some journalism degrees are part of a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication, which encompasses not only journalism but broader communication topics.
Those seeking entry-level positions in the field of journalism may be interested in obtaining an online associate degree in journalism, which can be completed in two years, or completing an online certificate program, which can be finished in one year. A Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism is a four-year degree program that will provide a broader liberal arts educational background while focusing on journalism. A Master’s of Arts in Journalism will require an additional two years of coursework after completing a bachelor’s degree but will provide more specialized training.
Journalism programs teach students to write, edit, and report articles for broadcast or publication. Classes also include media and ethics and basic business concepts, such as advertising, communications, marketing, and public relations. A degree or certificate in journalism will prepare students for a variety of careers in media. Students obtaining a degree in journalism may enter the workforce prepared with skills in communication, research, writing, and reporting.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Journalism
An online bachelor's degree in journalism can help prepare students for careers in print, online, and broadcast journalism.
Almost every online bachelor's degree in journalism will have a liberal arts component in addition to journalism-specific coursework. General education requirements typically include courses in math, science, social science, and the arts and humanities. Classes that are specific to journalism often include writing and the ethics of reporting as well as broader topics such as web development, and photo and video editing. Some schools offer internships, allowing you to gain experience in your field as you pursue your degree.
Online bachelor's degrees in journalism typically require the equivalent of around 120 semester hours, or 4 years of study. Such programs can be found at a variety of public and private colleges and universities. Most schools require a high school diploma or GED for admission as well as letters of recommendation and application essays. Students may also be asked to submit SAT or ACT scores, depending on the school.
After completing an online journalism bachelor's degree, some students may go straight into the workforce. Others may pursue a master's degree to further their careers and their journalism expertise.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Journalism Degree
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) provides accreditation to journalism and mass communication programs. Programmatic accreditation from ACEJMC helps to ensure that a journalism degree program offered by a college or university meets established standards. The curriculum of journalism and communications degrees can vary from school to school. Attending a school that has been ACEJMC-accredited ensures that you are receiving a degree that meets or exceeds the quality level set forth by the ACEJMC.
Regional accreditation is also important to look for when deciding which school to attend. Agencies that offer regional accreditation have been approved by the United States Department of Education and they work to ensure that entire academic institutions are meeting nationally agreed upon standards for higher education. Attending a regionally accredited school will make you eligible for federal financial aid and will help to ensure that you can transfer credits between intsitutions of higher education.
Online Broadcasting Degrees
For individuals interested in working in front of or behind a broadcasting camera, a broadcast journalism degree may be the right fit. With behind-the-scenes career options that include writing, editing, and producing, or center stage careers as a news anchor, broadcast journalism programs provide technical and practical experience. The diversity of the program affords students the ability to combine critical thinking and masterful storytelling to reach diverse audiences through ethical reporting.
Bachelor's coursework includes newsgathering fundamentals, media research and analysis, television news reporting, and information graphics and visualization. Applicants typically must submit documentation of high school transcripts or GED, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. This degree, along with an internship, is a good choice for students pursuing positions as news anchors, reporters, content writers, station managers, or production assistants.
Professionals with three or more years of experience may pursue a graduate degree. A master's degree program allows individuals to choose a specialty area to focus on, including long-form audio and video documentaries, online multimedia news production, or app creation, among many others. A doctoral degree in broadcast journalism may prepare a professional for the field of academia and administration, as well as positions in media entities, strategic communication firms, and corporations. Master's and doctoral degree students complete a thesis or a dissertation respectively.
Careers in Journalism
Many students who pursue an online journalism degree look to standard forms of media in hopes of entering the field as a newspaper, television, or magazine reporter. However, with the ever-expanding world of new media, a wide variety of careers are available to those who graduate with a journalism degree.
Editors are often employed by newspapers, magazines, and publishing companies to oversee the overall content and quality of work submitted by reporters and writers. Many times, editors assign stories or articles to their contributors and proceed to suggest new directions in the piece or shape a developing story with new ideas. They are also often responsible for making sure finished work is presented without mistakes and that it meets all necessary guidelines. In addition to checking the work of others, editors may submit their own articles or stories for publication. As mass media steadily expands, there is a growing need for editors at online magazines and newspapers.
News analysts often work closely with editors. They advise journalists about trending subjects and the bigger picture of a story. Analysts work with editors to shape a newspaper or news program with interesting content that will hold audience attention. They often weigh public interest in a story with the media's obligation to keep the public informed of current events. News analysts may also write their own columns or appear on the broadcast to directly share their insight on current events with the public.
Journalists working on the front lines to gather news often either work on regular beats or take assignments from an editor. Reporters follow up on stories, conduct interviews, gather facts, and produce quality research that is transformed into stories by editors and staff writers in the newsroom. Broadcast news reporters, however, often directly deliver their research and findings to the audience via remote broadcasts.
Public Relations Specialist
Publicists manage publicity for individuals, businesses or corporations. The majority of pubic relations specialists handle multiple clients in a private practice. Their primary functions are to present a positive public image for the individual or business, generate press coverage, and serve as a bridge between clients, media, and the public. A successful publicist manages campaigns, writes press releases, and performs a variety of other public relations functions.
Major strides and advances in media have opened up a wide pool of tools and career opportunities to those interested in a journalistic career. This demanding field requires commitment and diligence to be successful. Prospective journalism students would do well to interview local professionals about industry trends, typical work days, and other industry-related issues before deciding if journalism is the right career path.
Frequently Asked Questions About Journalism Degrees
What is the career outlook for journalists?
The demand for new journalists is admittedly declining. Due to major shifts in the news media industry, including many mergers and the rise of the internet, news media outlets are now able to consolidate their resources, which means fewer jobs for journalists. However, the skills and knowledge acquired while pursuing an online degree in journalism are transferable to many other professions. The ability to research, analyze, and synthesize information and to effectively communicate are extremely useful, especially for careers in marketing and communications.
How much can I expect to earn as a journalist or reporter?
According to ONET Online, the annual median salary is $46,270 for reporters. Demand for journalism professionals has decreased significantly over the last decade, and is projected to continue declining slowly at a rate of about -2% over the next eight years.
Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Accessed November 5, 2019. http://www.acejmc.org/.
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