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Top Rated 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.

6 Ways to Earn a Living as a Writer

Do you have a way with words? Is it easy for you to express yourself in writing? Are you a reader who enjoys how words and sentences are structured to communicate ideas? Perhaps you are the sort of student who excels at crafting essays and compositions. If writing is one of your strengths, you may want to consider a career involving those talents.

There are numerous ways to earn a living as a writer. You can go it alone, as an author or freelance writer. Or, you can work for one of the many businesses and organizations that need people who know how to use words effectively.

Becoming a Writer

If you like to read novels, poetry, nonfiction books, articles on websites, and other materials, you are already a student of writing. Being a prolific reader may be the best kind of training. By studying the works of others, you can see how words are used and ideas are organized. You can appreciate how writers create images in readers’ minds through their clever use of the language. You also will learn how writing styles vary among journalists, authors, advertising copywriters, and others.

Some people are able to get writing jobs, or work as freelancers, without having obtained formal education. However, it is common for employers to require at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or English. Graduates of other degree programs also may qualify, and specialize in writing about the subjects with which they are familiar.

Self-Employment

More than two-thirds of those who make a living as writers work for themselves. The most glamorous type of self-employment is becoming a published author of books. Penning the “great American novel” is a dream and goal of many writers. However, this is often the culmination, rather than the start, of a writing career. Most people need to obtain significant life experience, as well as training and education in the field, to become published authors.

You can also work independently as a freelance writer. Articles and other content are needed for websites. Print newspapers and magazines pay privately employed writers by the word or piece. This work enables writers to find jobs involving subjects with which they have expertise. Writers sometimes specialize in certain areas of interest.

News Media

One of the best ways to gain experience as a writer is to submit stories to local newspapers. These publications often need someone to cover community events or rewrite news releases. You may be able to get a summer job or part-time position.

Newspapers employ full-time and part-time reporters to cover a wide range of news topics. Writers at larger papers specialize in local government, education, sports, and other fields. While some people with only high school diplomas get reporting jobs, a journalism degree is frequently required.

The highest-paid positions in a newsroom are those of editors. To become an editor, you will probably need at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism, as well as years of experience as a reporter. Copy editors are advanced proofreaders who not only correct spelling and grammar, but also make suggestions regarding writing structure and style. Large newspapers have editors in chief, who supervise city editors, news-wire editors, assignment editors, sports editors, and others.

Television and radio stations, as well as online news media, also employ reporters and editors. Like newspapers, they need professionals who are adept at writing advertising copy, as well.

Other Publishers

Books, magazines, and websites offer jobs for writers who have proven ability as editors. Copy submitted by writers needs to be proofread, corrected, and sent back for revisions. Other positions in publishing include assistant and associate editors, copywriters, dictionary editors, editorial assistants, promotional assistants, and researchers.

Nonprofit organizations produce magazines, newsletters, news releases, and public-information documents. Large groups’ national headquarters employ teams of writers and editors.

Corporations

Large businesses need a variety of written materials, internally and for public consumption. They hire writers to create trade magazines, employee manuals, newsletters, news releases, reports, and speeches. Jobs are found in communications, publications, and public relations.

Technical writers are specialists who produce instruction manuals, software documents, and other detailed materials. Advertising departments hire marketing specialists to write promotional copy. Other corporate writing jobs involve greeting cards, scripts for television shows and commercials, and advertising slogans and songs.

Government

Local, state, and federal government entities churn out legislation, reports, and other documents on a regular basis. Government positions also include speech writers, press secretaries, and technical writers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writing jobs employed 129,100 people nationwide in 2012. Their median salary was $55,940 per year, or $26.89 per hour. The pay varies widely, depending upon the type of writing and the employer.

The BLS predicted that the rate of job growth for writers would be just 3 percent (3,800 additional positions) between 2012 and 2022, much less than that of the average occupation. Some types of employment, like print newspapers, are declining. On the other hand, the number of writers needed online is growing. New sites, which require articles and other content, are being created all the time.

If writing is what you do best, there is a multitude of possible careers to explore. Find one that involves subject matter with which you are interested and knowledgeable. Get some experience and education, and read the works of other writers. With persistence, you will be able to find a way to put your writing talents to work.

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