Best Online Bachelor’s in Journalism 2021
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A bachelor's in journalism prepares students to relay factual information and empower citizens to make informed decisions.
Journalists use their curiosity and persistence to bring truth to communities. They work in various media formats, informing the public about important events. With an online journalism degree, students gain the technical training necessary to enter this profession, as well as a flexible skill set that applies in other disciplines and industries.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% job decline for news reporters and correspondents between 2019 and 2029, but aspiring multimedia journalists can also pursue opportunities with media outlets on new platforms. Overall, the BLS projects media and communications occupations to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029 — approximately the same as the average growth for all occupations.
While COVID-19 accelerated the decline of traditional print journalism, it also accelerated diversification and growth in the field. The industry provides plenty of opportunities for journalism majors, especially those with internet savvy. To help aspiring journalists, we examine the details of a bachelor's in journalism, including career pathways and the best journalism schools in the country.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs
Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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Featured Online Bachelor's in Journalism Programs
What to Expect From a Journalism Major
Online journalism degrees equip students with the skills necessary to responsibly contribute to the public discourse. They gain technical, interpersonal, and communication skills, along with specialized training in common technologies and platforms. While students can choose from many concentrations and courses in a bachelor's program, the most popular options are listed below.
In broadcast journalism concentrations, students learn how to report and anchor on camera. They study news coverage strategies, producing on-air content and creating newscasts on traditional and online platforms. Graduates with this training can acquire positions as announcers or reporters and correspondents.
In this concentration, students gain the tools needed to conduct investigative journalism, such as using public records and archives, and interviewing people. Learners also gain an understanding of the laws and regulations regarding information and public access records. Graduates can pursue careers as reporters and correspondents and writers and authors.
In a feature and magazine journalism concentration, students learn how to employ storytelling strategies to write features in their areas of interest. They also study editing, work with graphic designers, and explore mediums. Graduates can acquire careers as editors or writers and authors.
Multimedia journalism concentrations cover innovative storytelling strategies that encourage interactivity with readers on various platforms and mediums. Learners look at the changing landscape and audiences and think up new ways to drive readership. Some possible careers with this training include writers and authors and public relations specialists.
In international journalism concentrations, learners examine how professionals report on and present global issues. Training may also explore the ethics, laws, and media landscape for these journalists. With this concentration, graduates can pursue careers as reporters and correspondents and writers and authors.
Sports journalism focuses on athletic broadcasts, examining how to cover sports teams in an evolving media landscape. The training may cover sports broadcasts, writing, and social media coverage. Some possible career pathways after graduation may include sports announcers and sports reporters and correspondents.
- News Writing and Reporting: In this class, students learn the fundamentals of writing and reporting the news. In addition to gaining writing skills, students learn reporting techniques, media ethics, and strategies to make reports more compelling.
- Digital Media Production: Digital media production classes teach students how to use digital media to tell the stories people want to read, see, and hear. Along with content creation strategies, students learn to use digital media successfully. They may also study photography and live streaming, or examine marketing and branding tactics.
- Multimedia Writing: Multimedia writing courses examine the writing craft and how it changes for various digital mediums and platforms. They explore how to adapt storytelling and story reception for different audiences, how to create multisensory experiences, and how to supplement writing with other media.
- Data Journalism: Data journalism courses teach students how to research and use data to inform their stories. The training looks at ways of interrogating data, analyzing it, and putting it in perspective.
- Journalism and Mass Communication Ethics: Journalism and mass communication ethics courses cover the journalistic standards and ethical frameworks that guide the profession. Students examine challenges these professionals face, their rights and freedoms, and their responsibility to truth and the community.
What Is the Difference Between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Journalism?
Journalism schools typically offer either a bachelor of art (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree, with minor differences between the two. BA degrees emphasize course flexibility and arts training, often including a foreign language requirement, while BS degrees emphasize STEM and more technical aspects of the field. Some institutions may offer both degree types.
While these degrees are similar, the different focuses may lead graduates down varying career paths. For example, BA graduates may pursue traditional reporter and news broadcaster and writer and author careers, whereas BS graduates may be more likely to pursue camera operator or public relations specialist careers.
Choosing an Online Program
When choosing an online journalism degree, aspiring students need to consider factors like program cost, location, and length. They also need to examine the curriculum, ensuring it offers the appropriate courses and specializations for their career interests. Online students should also look into their in-state tuition eligibility and whether programs use an asynchronous or synchronous format.
Finally, learners need to make sure their school and program hold any necessary accreditations. For journalism degrees, schools should have regional accreditation. The most common programmatic accreditation for online journalism degrees comes from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
After completing an online journalism degree, graduates can pursue an array of journalism careers. While many enter the workforce as reporters and news broadcast analysts, the training also prepares students for jobs in communications, writing, marketing, and public relations. They can also pursue technical writing, content management, and social media management careers.
Throughout their studies, learners can expand their career options through targeted course and concentration selection, or they can choose internships to build experience and get a foot in the door prior to graduation. The data below outlines career options available to journalism graduates and median annual salaries for each.
|Career||Median Salary (2020)|
|Public Relations Specialists||$118,430|
|Writers and Authors||$67,120|
|Radio and Television Broadcasters||$49,300|
|Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers||$49,300|
Frequently Asked Questions
Communications degrees typically prepare students to create a variety of media content across mediums and platforms. Journalism training focuses specifically on news reporting, usually in a more limited number of mediums.
According to the BLS, most reporters and news broadcasters earn a bachelor's degree in journalism. At the start of their careers, they take on internships to gain experience, often while still enrolled at their college or university.
Journalism can be a challenging career to enter because of declining demand in traditional print mediums. To improve their chances of employment, candidates should pursue practical experience via internships, if possible.
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