Journalism can be an exciting career for someone interested in gathering, analysing and reporting information. It is a highly competitive field that has changed a lot over the last few years with new technology being introduced.
With the media making its presence felt in almost every nook and corner of the world, there is a need for qualified talent to take the media and journalism industry to the next level.
In today’s scenario, journalism is not constrained to the traditional and serious ‘news reporting’ for the newspaper, but has expanded to explore television and digital journalism/ broadcasting, and avenues such as travel and discovery, science, sports, humanitarian ventures, cinema, art and theatre. With the advancement of film, television, advertising, music and radio, the media industry has witnessed a remarkable growth in last few years.
There are many different kinds of journalists working in the international media industry today. If you want to pursue a career in journalism, the first decision you need to make is what type of journalist you want to become.
A fashion journalist writes about styles and trends for newspapers, magazines and websites. A sports journalist reports about sporting events and tournaments and are an essential apart of any news media organisation. There are also dedicated magazines and newspapers that report sports news. A financial or business journalist interprets and writes about the local and international markets, corporate news, personal finance etc. A travel journalist visits new places and writes about them. A freelance or independent journalist will broadly cover current affairs, human rights, development, the arts, etc.
There is a growing need today for positive, inclusive and humane reporting, which lays stress on laws and ethics more than ever before.
Whether it is the editing, reporting or publishing departments you are aiming at, work hours usually vary, can be long and hectic. An ability to handle stress and work under pressure to meet last minute deadlines is essential for aspiring journalists.
Depending on the job, frequent travel might be required, sometimes to risky terrains or unstable locations.
The remuneration and growth prospects largely depend on the college you have graduated from, any previous work experience, or your skill sets.
With a rise in the influence of media conglomerates across the globe, opportunities for well-qualified journalists have definitely increased over the recent years. Some fields such us interactive media or new media have overtaken traditional media such as print.
Students of journalism or media studies can look out for openings as news analysts (news anchors, newscasters), reporters, editors, news correspondents, commentators, columnists, and news writers.
For students who have completed their undergraduate studies, its important to gain work experience for at least a short period, before going in for a master’s course in journalism as most universities prefer applicants with work experience.
What to study
At the undergraduate level, you could either go the well-trodden mass communication and media studies routes, or go for a more specialised course such as a bachelor’s in Journalism or multimedia journalism.
At the master’s level, you could choose a specialist course such as fashion and lifestyle journalism, Sports journalism, Media writing, International journalism, film journalism, broadcast journalism, etc. These courses are ideal for students with a generalist bachelor’s degree and a few years of industry experience.
Universities in the UK and the USA also offer dual honours degrees such as Bsc. in English and Journalism and Bsc. in Sociology and media studies.
It is important to choose a course that hones your practical and technical skills, but is still broad enough to teach you concepts that are applicable should you move on to do something else later down the line.
For those of you looking at advancing in your careers, and explore high level positions in news agencies and media organisations, a graduate degree is essential. There are a number of master’s and Ph.D. programmes available in journalism.
Students aspiring to become successful journalists need to be independent, flexible, creative, possess excellent writing skills, aggressive enough to capture the next breaking story as it happens. Knowledge of a foreign language is helpful.
Other complementary skills that are good to have are computer graphics, desktop-publishing skills, and photography skills.
Study options abroad
Pursuing a media and journalism course in countries such as the UK, USA, and Australia, exposes you to the latest and the best methods, to handling that equipment which is ‘current’, get the opportunity to be taught by international experts, and acquire job experience through the internship components and hand-on course curriculum.
An international media and journalism course equips you with collection, research, analysis, verification and presentation skills, and knowledge to adapt and objectively project the ‘happenings’ and trends of a changing society.
By undertaking a media and journalism course abroad, you also have the opportunity to be exposed to non-conventional roles such as a script writer, media planner, account (advertising) executive or supervisor, photojournalist, production assistant, public relations officer, media analyst, Radio Jockey (RJ), and television show host. These courses can be sifted into four compartments - print, television, radio and new media. Concepts of podcasting and web journalism are covered by the study of new media, which is the World Wide Web (www).
Typical media and journalism courses abroad include integrated marketing communication – working together of advertising, public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing, online communication and social media interaction, and corporate communication – filmmaking, digital design, television production and photography modules aside from journalism. On the Hotcourses India website, you can explore a number of media and journalism courses provided by well-established educational institutions from the UK, the US, and Australia.
On successful completion of the chosen course, you can go on and pursue a specialisation to make your skill sets niche, or alternatively, avail employment opportunities in television/ digital media production houses, advertising/ public relations/ 360 degrees branding agencies, business corporations, non-profit/ non-governmental organizations, government departments, media news and entertainment conglomerates, or even academia.
Most journalism and media careers involve travelling, interacting with people from different walks of life, adherence to tight deadlines, and being responsible in what your are presenting to the audience. If you’re up for the challenge, who knows, maybe you could be the next Burkha Dutt or Rajdeep Sardesai!