What Education Is Required to Be a Journalist?

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The education required to be a journalist is, in general, a bachelor's degree in journalism or in a related field. Discover what information is taught in journalist classes, such as copyright law, with help from a journalism professor in this free video on careers in journalism.

Part of the Video Series: Careers in Journalism
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For conventional journalism you are going to probably have to earn a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. Here are some things you might expect as part of that degree. You are going to have to learn how to write. Here is one of our standard writing textbooks. Glen Stovall's Writing for the Mass Media. This is a book that just teaches you how to write in a journalistic style. If you didn't know there was a style in journalistic writing there is. Most journalistic stories begin with what is called a lead which is a very succinct summary of the story that is coming up. It is not as easy to write one of those as it sounds. We spend a whole course teaching students how to do that here. You are also going to have to get familiar with law. Journalists are governed by a number of laws, copywrite law and so forth. Most relevantly perhaps privacy law and liable law. There are restricts even in a country that values free expression on what you can say and how much damage you can do to somebody by what you say and you can do a lot but you have to be fair about it basically. You can also, you can learn something about mass media history, something about where the media in the United States and around the world came from and sort of how that history has informed and influenced the medias we have today. That is very important. We are also going to want you to learn a little bit about Mass Communication Theory. This is an area that talks about what effects the mass media has both on individuals and on society as a whole. For example we talk in these courses about how media sets the agenda for public discussion how media do not really tell you what to think but they do tell you what to think about, they don't tell you who to vote for in the election but they do tell you that the election is important and that you need to make a decision. We call that the Agenda Setting Function in the mass media. Media also tend to frame discourse. They don't tell you again what to think but they tell you how to think about it. You know when you think about Barack Obama for example currently incoming as the President of the United States, you think about him in certain terms and those terms are given to you in many ways by the mass media.

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