It has been said that journalists are the watchdogs of a nation, the people who keep those in power in check and give voice to those whose stories must be told. As economic, political, cultural and social change ripples across Asia, journalists and media professionals are essential in this region. There are stories that need telling, governments and corporations that must be held accountable, and there is incredible opportunity for telling the world about this part of the planet and for journalists here to impact the lives of citizens.
Like all forms of writing, journalism is an art, and one that is best learned in the hallowed halls of journalism schools. There are numerous skills, theories and techniques that go into the job of a professional reporter and students at journalism schools receive rigorous training that prepares them to be successful, valuable members of the media industry.
The major journalism programs in the world are undergoing a major shift right now, transitioning their programs from being print-focused to preparing their students to report and tell stories using multimedia digital platforms. These programs afford students the opportunity to learn not only excellent writing skills, but also photography, videography, and website development. These skills can translate to a number of different fields, giving journalism graduates many opportunities to develop their own creative projects or leverage themselves into interesting job positions.
While in journalism school, students will receive intensive editing, critiquing and feedback from seasoned media professionals, which will improve their work and make them better journalists. Once they land in the field, they will be expected to maintain this excellence but will receive significantly less guidance and editing, as editors do not have the time to train their reporters in the basics. Students who emerge from a journalism program will have the advantage of having been mentored and prepared for the professional journalism world.
Arguments have been made that, because blogging and social media sites have made writing a more accessible profession to the general population, there is less need for a journalism or writing degree. The reality is, there is now more than ever a need for qualified, skilled professionals in the journalism industry. In a world where false and inaccurate information can spread quickly through the Internet and social media channels, trained journalists with the skills to get to the truth of a story are now more important than ever. While in journalism school, students are are drilled in journalistic ethics, media law, verification of sources, and all the other skills they need to produce an end product that is both fair and accurate.
Journalism programs are increasingly introducing seminars and courses in social media, which has become an essential tool for reporters. Not only do platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow journalists to publicize their work, they have also become invaluable for generating story ideas, tracking down potential sources and connecting with organizations relevant to their work. Reporters cannot ignore the power of these tools and an in-depth understanding of social media strategy is being recognized as vital in this profession.
Journalist salaries vary depending on the country and city they are working in, and on the size of the organization that employs them. Most graduates fresh out of journalism school can typically expect to make between $30,000–35,000 a year if they land at a medium-sized publication. Those with more experience, and who land at larger papers or organizations, may make upward of $50,000 or $60,000 a year.
Having a journalism degree, particularly an advanced one, can boost the salary numbers, given the credentials they bring to bear on the position.
The value of the academic and professional network at journalism schools cannot be overstated. Most professors at these schools have extensive experience working in media and can help students meet high-level professionals or support them in their quests for jobs and internships. In an increasingly competitive field, this network is invaluable, especially as so much in journalism depends on reputation and who you know.
Asian students who choose to study at a prominent journalism school will gain not only a global perspective on their craft, but will also have the opportunity to practice it in countries where there is media freedom. This is a tremendous opportunity for them to stretch their ideas, pursue topics that would be off-limits in other parts of the world and develop a broad mindset that they can bring home with them, to make a difference there.
Australia’s Edith Cowan University has established itself as an institution of higher learning that emphasizes ethics, excellence, rational inquiry and social awareness. Journalism and communication students will find that they are in excellent company here. In fact, the 2011 Graduate Careers Australia report named ECU’s Journalism program as the top journalism tertiary program in the country for Best Teaching and Graduate Satisfaction. Journalism students have the opportunity to showcase the work they are doing and receive high recognition for it. ECU students took home prizes in four categories at the 2011 National Ossie Awards for outstanding student journalism. Read full profile…
Students with a passion for journalism and for the arts are in luck, as they can find the best of both worlds at the UK’s University for the Creative Arts. UCA journalism graduates are known to work at prominent newspapers, magazines and other media outlets, where they partake in exciting and challenging assignments. UCA offers a number of undergraduate degrees in journalism, as well as a master’s program in fashion and lifestyle journalism. UCA’s journalism students have a high employability rate, and rank in the top 10 for graduate employment in the UK. Read full profile…
Founded in 1968 as the Department of Communication, the Hong Kong Baptist University School of Communication was established in 1991. Today, it hosts three departments, the Academy of Film, the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Journalism, bringing together about 1,000 students each year from across the region. The School’s influence is demonstrated by the fact that many of its early alumni hold senior positions within the Hong Kong media industry. COMM’s popularity and prestige is founded on principles of originality, innovation and balance. This is the only academic unit in Hong Kong offering a full range of communication programmes at degree and postgraduate levels.
The UK’s University of Kent runs a stellar journalism program through its Centre for Journalism, with students learning the theories and best practices of the trade and securing rewarding employment by the time they graduate. Students are trained in multimedia storytelling, which provides them with essential skills in the constantly shifting digital era of journalism. The University of Kent offers a BA in Journalism and the News Industry, and MA in Multimedia Journalism. Students will be exposed to a range of relevant subjects, including history, politics and law in order to prepare them to do thorough, high quality journalistic work.
Medill is one of the top-ranking journalism schools in the US, offering a mix of undergraduate and graduate programs that consistently produce some of the most qualified and competitive journalists in the world. In less than a century of operation, the school has produced nearly 40 Pulitzer Prize winners, and current students are encouraged to pursue the same level of excellence. The university’s full-time faculty are seasoned professionals with extensive industry experience and contacts. Medill also draws on Chicago’s journalism community for accomplished adjuncts who have specialized in reporting, photography, videography, non-fiction narrative, magazine editing, web design and more.
The prestigious Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California is one of the most well-respected journalism schools in the United States, and the world. Graduates of Annenberg programs have an immense number of resources at their fingertips thanks to the school’s professional network. Annenberg offers three bachelor degree programs, in journalism, public relations and communication. The school also has several master programs, in journalism, communication management, global communication, public diplomacy specialized journalism, online communities, and strategic public relations. Annenberg maintains a number of research centers and programs that further the study of media and its impact globally.
Take an Ivy League university with centuries of tradition on tap, layer in some of the world’s most prestigious awards in journalism, and it is easy to see why up-and-coming journalists are so keen on getting their credentials here. Simply put, degrees with this kind of clout are hard to come by. Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism offers three major degree programs. The master of science program is suitable for those without experience, while the master of arts degree assumes that candidates already have a background in journalism. A Ph.D. in communications is also offered through the school.
Ethics in journalism is a theme students at Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will come across frequently during their time here. The school is recognized as one of the best in the United States and demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting diversity at the school and maintaining solid international connections. Here students will learn the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of the press and to work as competent and ethical media professionals. E.W. Scripps School of Journalism offers undergraduate degrees in Advertising, Broadcast News, Magazine Journalism, News Writing and Editing, Online Journalism, and Public Relations. There are also master and doctoral degree courses.