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Majors

The scoop on Journalism Schools

Numerous universities offer bachelor’s degree and graduate programs in journalism. Several of them have won acclaim for their academics, placing high in rankings compiled by various organizations.

All the schools on this list are recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. A degree from one of these prestigious institutions may qualify you for a job with a leading newspaper, magazine, or broadcast company. Numerous graduates of the top-ranked colleges and universities have earned Pulitzer Prizes, Peabody Awards, and Emmy Awards.

While there is no definitive list of the best journalism schools, some programs have been received high praise from multiple authoritative sources. Here is a look at those that have placed high on several lists.

University of Missouri at Columbia

The first journalism school in the world, established in 1908, is the University of Missouri at Columbia. It topped a list of best journalism schools (published in December 2013 by NewsPro Magazine) that was based on a survey of 1,321 members of the Radio-Television Digital News Association. The school was third in rankings by Education Portal.

Missouri-Columbia placed fourth in a survey of 400 news professionals that took into account admissions standards, faculty quality, campus media outlets, professional publishing opportunities, and internships. The university’s journalism program was rated sixth-best in the country by College Magazine.

A staggering total of more than 30 undergraduate degree programs, more than 20 two-year master’s programs, and six doctorate degree programs are available. A pair of master’s programs are offered online.

Prospective students, to qualify for admission, must meet one of three requirements: placing in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, scoring 29 or higher on the ACT, or scoring 1,290 or higher on the math and verbal portions of the SAT.

Missouri-Columbia is famous for teaching the Missouri Method of journalism, which combines classwork with practical experience. Students work at the Columbia Missourian, a community newspaper and online news outlet; the nation’s only university-owned community television station and major network affiliate; and an FM radio station.

Northwestern University

The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University has operated in Evanston, Ill., since 1921. Its graduates include more than 40 Pulitzer Prize winners. The school ranked second on the NewsPro Magazine list and in the survey of news professionals. College Magazine placed it eighth.

In addition to an undergraduate program with multiple majors, the college awards more than 250 graduate degrees annually. Master’s program concentrations include interactive publishing, magazine writing and editing, reporting, and video-broadcast. Graduate students receive a year of practical experience in newsrooms in Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C.

Northwestern’s Global Residency Program, which involves more than 150 media partners, provides full-time employment and training for reporters and public-relations specialists.

University of Georgia

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia has been graduating journalism majors since 1915. It is the home of the Peabody Awards, the top honors in electronic journalism. Grady was third on the NewsPro Magazine list and second in College Magazine’s rankings.

The school offers bachelor’s degrees in advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism, mass-media arts, magazine journalism, public affairs, publishing management, and visual journalism. Master’s and doctorate programs in mass communication, as well as a new-media interdisciplinary certificate program, also are available.

The Grady College is a leading research institution, featuring studies in health and risk communication, political and policy communication, narrative storytelling, critical studies, and sports communication.

Syracuse University

The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, founded in 1934, is one of the more exclusive journalism schools. Typically, only 350 of about 4,000 applications from prospective students are accepted. About 225 people apply for 800 spots in master’s degree programs each year.

This school placed first in the survey of news professionals, was ranked fourth by NewsPro Magazine, and came in 10th on the College Magazine list. About 1,800 undergraduates annually pursue majors in newspaper and online journalism, TV-radio-film, advertising, broadcast and digital journalism, magazines, graphic design, photography, and public relations. Students have opportunities to perform internships and study abroad.

Newhouse offers master’s of arts degrees in advertising, audio arts, broadcast and digital journalism, documentary film, print and online journalism, media studies, public diplomacy, and Tv-radio-film. There are also master’s of science programs in communications management, media management, photography, and public relations. In addition, Newhouse provides a doctorate program in mass communications.

Arizona State University

More than 1,600 students are enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Phoenix. It was rated fifth-best by NewsPro Magazine and placed sixth in the survey of news professionals.

ASU features a student-produced television news broadcast, which airs on PBS; the Cronkite News Service, distributing multimedia news stories to more than 30 professional outlets in Arizona; a Washington News Bureau, providing opportunities for students to report on public-policy issues; a fellowship program, partnering with the Washington Post and NBC News; the New Media Innovation Lab; and a Public Relations Lab.

Nearly 600 internships are provided each year for Cronkite School students, whose instructors include award-winning journalists.

Columbia University

Ranked first by Education Portal, third by the surveyed professionals, and sixth by NewsPro Magazine is Columbia University in New York City. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report rated CU the fourth-best university overall in the United States. This is the institution that awards Pulitzer Prizes.

The Ivy League school was the first U.S. institution to award graduate degrees in journalism. Students choose from among master’s of science programs in journalism, which consist of classes, seminars, and workshops; master’s of arts journalism programs; and a doctorate of philosophy in communications.

University of California-Berkeley

The highest-ranked public university in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report, is UC-Berkeley. Its journalism school was rated second-best by Education Portal and placed eighth in the survey of news professionals.

Master’s program journalism students enter one of 13 tracks of study that include business, environment and science, international news, investigative reporting, newspapers, magazines, new media, politics, and radio and television.

Ohio University

The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, boasts 13 Pulitzer-winning alumni. It was ranked fourth by news professionals, seventh by NewsPro Magazine, and ninth by College Magazine.

Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees in journalism are available. Internships are required. Students get experience working for thc campus newspaper, television station, and AM and FM radio stations. Academic tracks include advertising, broadcast news, magazine journalism, news writing and editing, online journalism, and public relations.

Other Universities

Placing eighth through 12th on the NewsPro Magazine list were the University of Florida, the University of Montana, Lyndon State College, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland in College Park, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Among those making the top 10 in the survey of news professionals were the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, New York University, and George Washington University.

College Magazine ranked the University of Florida’s journalism school No. 1. Indiana University was third; the University of Kansas, fourth; the University of Maryland at College Park, fifth; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, seventh.

These are the most respected universities from which to receive degrees in journalism. Tuition varies widely, with some institutions charging high rates. However, scholarships and other financial aid are available.

Many factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding where to go to college. Students planning to pursue careers in journalism may want to put these schools on their lists of prospective universities.

Careers in Fine Arts

The term “starving artist” may apply to some painters, sculptors, illustrators, and other fine-arts professionals. However, many creative people have found highly successful careers in a wide range of fields.

About half of those who make their living in the fine arts are self-employed. A large portion of them produce works of art for sale. Their customers may be individuals who buy single pieces, or store owners who purchase artwork in bulk for resale. Artists exhibit their creations in museums, display them in galleries, and sell them on the web.

Other fine artists work for private companies or government entities. Some of these positions require fine-arts degrees. Government officials have projected that the job-growth rate for fine artists will be just 3 percent from 2012 to 2022, far less than the average for all occupations.

Traditional Artists

When most people hear the term “artist,” they picture painters and sculptors. These are the most traditional of art jobs, with histories dating to many centuries ago. This category features those who actually produce the art; the talented people who conceive and create works that have aesthetic value. Other examples include printmakers, illustrators, cartoonists, and video artists.

The Art Business

Many fine artists, or visual artists, find work in the art business. Some are art appraisers, brokers, or dealers. They assess, buy, and sell pieces of work. Auction houses, art galleries, and art museums hire artistic people to perform a variety of duties.

Corporate Art Careers

Large businesses need art directors to design visual concepts for promotions and advertising. These professionals are responsible for how printed materials, videos, ads, and web pages are presented to the public. It has been estimated that nearly half of fine artists have this type of job, which is near the top of the pay scale for all kinds of artists.

Art directors supervise multimedia artists, animators, and artists skilled in the use of technical equipment. The staff of a large company’s advertising department may include copywriters, creative directors, illustrators, and photographers.

Illustration and Drawing

Without artwork, magazines and books would not be as visually appealing to readers. Publishers need fine artists to create illustrations, drawings, and designs for printed materials like calendars, greeting cards, stationery, wallpaper, and gift-wrapping paper. The designs of T-shirts and other clothing also display the talents of fine artists.

Sketch artists, those skilled at re-creating a person’s likeness, are employed by police departments and news media. Medical illustrators are specially trained to render anatomically accurate drawings that portray how surgical procedures are to be conducted. They do this by hand, and use computer technology to create animations and three-dimensional images. Scientific illustrators depict plants and animals, molecular structures, and geologic and planetary formations. Their work appears in professional publications and is used to educate students.

Art Education

A degree in fine arts, along with a teaching certificate, can qualify an artist for a rewarding career in education. High schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions employ art teachers. Other jobs involving education include art museum curator, archivist, art critic, art consultant, lecturer, art historian, and art therapist.

In your search for a job in the fine arts, do not be discouraged by those who insist there is no money to be made in the field. There are hundreds of occupations for visual artists, offering employment in myriad specialties. If you research the options, and honestly assess your own skills, you just might find a career that matches your passion with your need to earn a living.

A Peek at Your Future - Informational Interviews

It’s very common to experience feelings of uncertainty or even fear when you prepare for the beginning of what will be your career after college. An informational interview is an interview where you seek advice on a career or industry of interest, rather than a job position. It enables you to sit down with someone who is working in your area of interest and ask them questions about their career.

Informational interviews should be taken seriously because you will be making contact with a professional that may be able to help you in the future. You should be well prepared and professional.

Making Contact

Begin by visiting your university’s career center. Many times alumni will volunteer to speak with students, so ask an advisor if there’s anyone available from your industry of interest. You can also use LinkedIn alumni groups to locate alumni in your field. Busy professionals are often more willing to speak with someone they have something in common with.

If alumni groups leave you empty handed, turn to the web. Search for companies you want to eventually work.  If the company is small or locally based, a phone call is usually well received. If it’s a larger company, use the best email contact you can find, preferably an email for a specific person in your department of interest.

Word Wisely

By phone- Briefly introduce yourself and explain that you’re a student interested in learning more about the company and a career in the industry. Ask if it would be possible to set up a time for an informational interview with someone there.

By email- Use an appropriate but direct subject line such as, “(Their Name)-Informational Interview Request” or “Question from (Your University) Student” if their name is unknown. You want to get their attention. Close your email by thanking them for their time. Include your LinkedIn profile and contact information in the signature.

Regardless of how you make contact, be clear that you want to know more about their career, their experiences and their company. This is not the time to ask for a job or sell yourself; and doing so will likely turn off a future employer at this point. Explain to your interviewee that you will take no more than 30 minutes of their time.

Prepare

Research the company more to gain a better understanding of its culture and history. If you are conducting the interview in person, you should select appropriate attire. Dress like you would for an actual interview. Write down your questions on a notepad in a portfolio. Here are a few to get you started:

  • What skills do you find most useful in this position?
  • What college courses helped you to best prepare for this job?
  • What is your schedule like?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement in this company/industry?

Take the portfolio with you to record the responses. You may also take a copy of your resume, just in case they ask for it.

Interview

If interviewing in person, plan to arrive five minutes early and behave as if you were on an actual job interview. Ask the interviewee if they are comfortable with you recording some notes regarding their responses.

When the interview is complete, thank the interviewer and ask if they have any other advice for you. Ask for a business card so you can follow up with a thank you email.

Summary

Informational interviews are one of the best ways to learn about a company and a particular industry. Conducting these interviews will enable you to make more confident career decisions, while making important professional contacts.

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