Journalism Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career paths you could pursue with a degree in journalism. Find out about job duties, employment outlook and salary potential to determine if this is the right choice for you. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Journalism Major Consist Of?

Earning a bachelor's degree in journalism can help improve your communication and multimedia skills and prepare you for a variety of jobs in the news industry. Journalism majors are trained to gather data, write news stories and present information to educate and inform the public. Reporters and correspondents do research, conduct interviews and write stories to present to their audience. Broadcast news analysts, on the other hand, analyze and interpret news to help their audience better understand any issue that can have impact on their lives. The chart below illustrates what to expect in two of the most common career paths.

Reporters/Correspondents Broadcast News Analysts
Education Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications or a related field Journalism, communications or a related field
Training Required Internship or work experience Internship or work experience
Key Skills Writing, editing, listening skills Analysis, research, critical thinking
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% decline* 13% decline*
Median Salary (2015) $36,360* $65,530*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Career Options Will I Have with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism?

Although many journalists work as news reporters and broadcasters, a bachelor's degree in journalism can prepare you for almost any type of work that utilizes communication skills. These types of jobs are generally found in newspaper and magazines companies, television networks, online and radio stations. Some of the more common positions held by journalism majors include:

  • News writer
  • Correspondent
  • News analyst
  • Production assistant
  • Reporter
  • Columnist
  • Staff writer
  • Blogger

What Will I Need in Addition to My Degree?

Employers often look for candidates with practical work experience to fill entry-level journalism positions. To gain experience, you might consider working for your school's newspaper, television or radio station while pursuing your degree. Completing an internship or summer work program at various media outlets can also enhance your job prospects.

You'll also need a strong portfolio with samples of your work to demonstrate to potential employers the depth of your journalistic skills. A portfolio can include writing samples and video clips from school projects, as well as samples from your internship or work experience.

What Is the Job Outlook in This Industry?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of news analysts, reporters and correspondents would decline by 9% over the period of 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). However, expanding technology would create jobs in this field through new media outlets. The continuing demand for sophisticated and thorough news coverage would also contribute to new job opportunities.

Journalists working in new forms of media, such as online newspapers and magazines, may have the best job prospects. Competition for jobs would be high in metropolitan and national newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

The median annual salary for broadcast news analysts was $65,530 in 2015, according to the BLS, with the lowest ten percent earning about $27,370 or less and the top ten percent earning more than $187,200. The BLS noted the median annual wages of reporters and correspondents were $36,360 in May of 2015.

According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for journalists is largely based on experience. Those with five years or less experience earned about $35,837 per year, while the median salary for journalists with 10 to 20 years of experience was roughly $55,441 as of October 2016.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Journalism majors with multimedia skills and social media background may choose to explore careers in writing or public relations. Both fields require a bachelor's degree and skills in writing, research and critical thinking. The increasing demand in online media content gives writers and public relations specialists a promising career path. Writers create content for advertisements, online magazines, blogs and other types of media. Public relations specialists, on the other hand, help create a favorable image for their clients using the traditional media and the Internet.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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