Since the Boston News-Letter published its first issue on April 24, 1704, journalists have kept Americans up to date on the news. And the Journalism industry has evolved leaps and bounds after that. Journalism started traditionally as newspaper-based Journalism, but in today’s world, it has so many mediums such as TV, Internet, Social Media, YouTube, etc. And this transformation is constantly happening in the way it presents news. There is a huge demand for Journalists across this world, with new markets and new ways of Journalism evolve. And when there is demand, supply also increased. Students interested in taking up Journalism as a career will find out the intense competition in this field. Getting a Masters’s degree in Journalism helps students stay ahead of the competition, and the best way to Masters’s in Journalism is by getting it online. Students enrolling in a Masters in Journalism Online programs will learn the latest techniques to produce print, digital, film, and broadcast content. This guide will help students understand all aspects of online masters in journalism programs.
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In the digital era, journalists create stories and articles that can be steamed, broadcast, and published with immediacy. Journalists dig deep and rely upon strong analytical skills and determination. Finding the best Masters in Journalism program for your career aspirations takes work. That is what this page is all about: understanding the degree options and cutting through the clutter to find what’s right for you. There are plenty of universities that offer online masters in journalism, but not all are considered the best. We have researched dozens of journalism masters programs and created the below list of best online journalism masters programs in the country:
As a result of digital innovations, journalism studies’ scope has broadened, and the curriculum along with it. At the same time, university tuition fees also increased substantially. Forbes reports that college tuition increased by 497% percent, 1986-2018. And students have had tough times funding their masters in journalism programs. Our researchers have looked for affordable journalism schools in the country and created a list of the most affordable online masters in journalism programs. Here is the list:
The journalism field is one of the fastest-growing fields in the country. But the skills learned in Journalism programs are easily transferable to other industries too. Therefore there is so much demand for Journalism programs. Journalism degrees are matched to your career options. But it is important to understand the full depth of online masters in journalism programs. Let’s break down the programs into bite-size chunks so that you can understand them better.
Online Masters in Journalism Degree Types
Various universities offer journalism degrees in various formats and degree types. Students researching in these programs will notice there are mainly two types of master’s in journalism. In enrolling in an online master’s in journalism, you’ll choose among MA and MBA in journalism degree programs. Here’s the difference between these two:
Master of Arts in Journalism
The Masters of Arts in Journalism is a two-year degree program designed exclusively for the students to join the field or increase their knowledge to advance their careers. There is a strategic blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. The MA in Journalism focuses on the main aspects of Journalism without deviating away from this core concentration.
Journalism MBA Programs
Journalism MBA programs are designed for graduate students seeking advanced knowledge of the journalism industry’s business aspects. The program explores production management and the study of ethical ramifications and emerging media; as a whole, MBA programs in Journalism also focus on leadership and management; thereby making the program a mix of journalism and a business.
Specializations in Masters in Journalism Programs
Given the complex and wide nature of the journalism field, this field has evolved into multiple branches and specializations. As the number of ways people get information has changed, these concentrations have also increased. Students that want to pursue online Masters in Journalism programs also choose a specialization based on their interest and career aspirations. Here are some common specializations at Masters in Journalism programs:
Masters in broadcast journalism
The Masters in Broadcast Journalism online is a graduate-level program that emphasizes news writing techniques, information gathering, writing articles, and editing news. The main focus is on broadcasting, reporting for news and newspapers, magazines, and the Web.
Masters in journalism and mass communication
Journalism is the dissemination and investigation of information based on current events. Online Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication trains students to create content, including news, opinion, sports, and politics. Students work with the latest technology for the creation of news and dissemination.
Masters in new media journalism
The Masters in New Media journalism is a specialization which trains students to use media like audio, print, video, web technologies, multimedia tools, search engine analytics, and social media.
Digital journalism and media
The specialization in digital journalism and media focuses on arming students with the latest digital media techniques and how these technologies affect the marketing, public relations, advertising, social media, journalism, and health communication fields.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Journalism Programs
Journalism programs teach students many skill sets. These skills include excellent spoken and written skills, outstanding time management skills, meeting deadlines, and strong research skills. The curriculum in Journalism programs can vary based on which university is offering it and its concentration. However, most of the programs have some common courses that students will masters before they graduate. Here are a few such courses that students can expect to face in online masters in journalism programs:
Business and Economic Reporting
Power and money go hand in hand. An understanding of economics along with business practices helps professional journalists cover politics and finance.
The computational journalism concentration unpacks how code, data, and algorithms are reshaping journalism. Graduates learn how to use the tools to write in the digital age.
Whether you wish to cover the courts, become foreign correspondents, or write magazine features, you should have the ability to write clear and accurate stories delivered on strict deadlines.
This course features real-world assignments and classroom discussions on topics like international press freedom. Students must write, pitch, and report stories on international news.
Covering education and data reporting
This course blends in-depth education reporting, diving into data training with instructors. Students will write an original long-form story, news, narrative features, and other genres.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Journalism Programs
Accreditation is the most important factor when it comes to selecting a school, college, or university. Accreditation is a process during which independent third-party organizations vet the higher educational programs at various universities. And depending on the quality of the programs, they issue the accreditation certificate. This acts as a confidence booster to students that their money and time will not waste in these educational programs. Read more about Accreditation. For online masters in journalism, here are the main organizations that issue Accreditation. If the journalism program that you want to pursue is accredited by one of the below bodies, you can be confident about the program’s quality and value.
Higher Learning Commission: The HLC provides Accreditation for universities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
Middle States Commission on Higher Education: MSCHE oversees Accreditation at universities education in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Journalism Programs
The timelines for graduating from online masters in journalism depends on many factors such as part-time vs. full time, students undergraduate degree, university prerequisites, etc. Most schools require around 33 to 39 credit points to graduate. And it usually takes two to three years to finish online masters in journalism programs, but they can be accelerated too. Some universities offer accelerated programs. Read here for accelerated options.
Online Masters in Journalism Programs Admission Requirements
Every university has its own admission requirements. But most universities have similar requirements for online master’s programs, including online masters in journalism. Students need to check the specific university to pursue these programs to see if they have any special requirements. But here are the most common admission requirements for online masters in journalism programs:
Statement of Purpose
You should describe your aptitude, knowledge, and motivation behind applying for Masters in Journalism online program in less than 500 words. Be specific about why the respective institution is the best fit for you.
Personal History Statement
In less than 500 words, describe your aptitude for attending graduate school. Also, mention your experience and personal background. The statement should reflect how you overcame any barriers in achieving your journalism goals so far and what you bring to the table.
Letters of Recommendation
Seek letters of recommendation from professors, colleagues, or professional journalists who know your work. Letters need to focus particularly on your work ethics, commitment to journalism, and reporting proficiency.
Journalistic Work Samples
Submit any work samples which highlight your ability as a storyteller and reporter. They inform the program administrators about your current abilities.
Transcripts confirm your degree from an accredited institution at undergraduate or graduate levels.
Minimum GPA Criteria
Typically, universities require at least a 3.0 GPA or equivalent for all undergraduate coursework. Transcripts should include the cumulative undergraduate GPA and major field GPA.
An updated resume highlights the applicant’s relevant experience and workplace achievement.
Universities may require scores from a GRE/GMAT, but some programs do not need scores in addition to the Masters in Journalism online program. Check with prospective schools.
Online Masters in Journalism No GRE Programs
Most universities require a standardized test score as part of the admission requirements. These tests can be a GRE or a GMAT exam. But in recent years, many universities are moving away from this test score requirement and focusing on the program quality instead of artificial barriers of entry for students. This trend applies to online masters in journalism programs too. Here are a few universities that offer Online Masters in Journalism No GRE programs:
Speed is the essence in today’s world, and this concept applies to higher education too. Many students and professionals are looking to quickly graduate from online master’s programs and get ready for upward mobility in their careers. Many universities are starting to offer accelerated online masters in journalism. Here are a few universities that offer one-year journalism masters programs online:
How to Pay for Online Master’s in Journalism Programs
One of the biggest questions that determine if students pursue an online master’s in journalism or not is the question of – How to pay? And rising tuition costs across all higher education programs are not helping the cause. Tuition and fees for a journalism degree are also ever rising. The good news is that there’s plenty of help to pay for the degree. The process starts when you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The application is required for all publicly funded federal grants, loans, or work-study.
Here are several financial resources for paying for an online Masters in Journalism:
Working on Campus
Typically, universities don’t recommend students take outside employment during their first few semesters. However, schools offer various hourly positions within the radio labs and television studios or assist community sites, student newspapers, and magazines.
These are the forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. These are usually awarded to students based on their merit or financial need.
The student loan funded by the federal government or state is the public student loan and is commonly preferred by students for their lower interest rates. Private loans are also available from credit unions and banks but are usually more expensive than public student loans.
Fellowships, which do not need to be repaid, are highly competitive. Fellows may be chosen based on their academic prowess and to support research that impacts their journalism niche.
Scholarships for pursuing a Masters’s in Journalism online are offered to students in mass communication, advertising, journalism, and public relations. Here are a few scholarships for students who are pursuing their Masters in Journalism online:
The McGraw Center for Business Journalism offers reporting fellowships and grants up to $15,000. The Center also provides editorial support to journalists to do in-depth reporting on global finance, the economy, and business.
is awarded to students actively pursuing a journalism career in television. The scholarship offers up to a 50% reduction in the tuition fees with a cap of $10,000. Funded by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
FAQs about Journalism Masters Programs
Q: Is a Master’s Degree in Journalism worth it?
A:Yes, a master’s degree in journalism is worth it. A Masters Degree in Journalism will give you the contacts, skills, and confidence to become a journalist. You’ll be up to speed on digital editing programs. There can be a high return on this educational investment.
Q: How to get a Masters’s in Journalism?
A:You can join any accredited university to pursue your online master’s in Journalism once you have completed your undergraduate degree in journalism or a related major.
Q: How long does it take to complete a master’s program?
A:If you apply for a full-time master’s program, you can complete it in 2 academic years. If you go for a part-time program, it will increase the time to earn the degree.
Q: How do you get a job after completing a master’s in Journalism?
A:Journalism departments typically offer job boards or placement services. Internships are a great way to build a strong resume and network for future openings.
Q: What will be my job position after completing a master’s in Journalism?
A:You can work as a public relations/affairs specialist, print or digital writer/editor, a news development officer, and more.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Journalism Masters Graduates
Students that graduate with a master’s in journalism can have a promising and flourishing career. But it is important to note that career niches in journalism take many forms. For a good start toward a specialty, students need on-the-job-experience and a graduate degree. Getting a graduate degree helps students reduce extensive experience requirement as many employers look at master’s degrees in high regard. Here are some career paths that past journalism students have taken:
Average Median Annual Salary
News producers collect news and select key stories for the broadcast. They may also be responsible for conducting interviews, approving new scripts, writing news copy, and creating interactive content for social media and websites.
Staff writers produce compelling content for online media and traditional journalism outlets. They also write articles, guides, manuals, broadcast scripts, white papers, and more.
News editors are responsible for overseeing the publication process for media outlets, news organizations, online media companies, and publishing firms. They plan and research stories, create in-house style guides, and curate content.
Digital strategists collaborate with marketing, social media management, and content development teams to create successful digital promotional strategies.
Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists plan, implement, and then oversee public relations campaigns for an organization to raise its brand profile. They create reports, presentations, press releases, website content, and internal communications.
$36.26 per hour
Journalists are responsible for conducting fieldwork, which includes identifying, investigating, and detailing happenings and events. They interpret and analyze stories and then present them to the public in clear, concise language.
Product Marketing Manager
Product Marketing Managers work in conjunction with commercial sales, products, and marketing teams to develop written, visual, and audio media promotions. They are also responsible for building collaborative relationships with experts and influencers to test and improve content plans.
Certifications and Licensing for Journalism Masters Graduates
Certifications and licenses are required for many professions. Not journalism. There are no licensing or certification requirements to work in the media professions. Many media jobs do not have any specific certification or licensing requirements. The only required certification that is currently available is for people who want to teach journalism, K-12:
Certified Journalism Educator. The Journalism Education Association (JEA) awards two professional certifications: The Certified Journalism Educator and the Master Journalism Educator credential. Eligibility for the Certified Journalism Educator is limited to individuals with current JEA membership. To gain a Master Journalism Educator certificate, applicants must hold a Certified Journalism Educator credential and have a minimum of five years of teaching experience. Certified journalism teachers develop curriculums to build student writing, interviewing, digital media, and editing skills.
Additional Resources for Journalism Professionals
Master’s in Journalism students are supported by a wealth of resources outside of their degree programs. Joining a professional organization, association, and attending conferences can be a boon in launching or advancing a career. There are professional associations serving students pursuing their Masters in Journalism online. State and national associations can help with research, professional networking, and continuing education. Student memberships in these organizations give you access to articles, case studies, blogs, journals, books, and white papers written by the experts. Here are some valuable resources:
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA): ASJA is the leading nonfiction independent writer organization. Their website contains journalists and links to associations, newsletters, news updates, and information about ASJA conferences and events.
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB):NAB is dedicated to over-the-air and public television and radio broadcasters. Find professional resources provided by the association, along with listings and registration for events and conferences.
Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ): The SPJ website is home to journalism professionals and students’ resources. Visit network with other journalists and editors to find internships and fellowships, and round up information about conferences, seminars, and workshops.
Investigative Reporter and Editors (IRE): The IRE provides educational services to reporters, editors, and people who are interested in investigative journalism. The resource center/research library has over 25,000 print and broadcasts investigative stories.
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC): AEJMC is a non-profit educational association serving administrators, students, faculty, and professionals in mass communication and journalism. There are links to its professional conferences, meetings, and special programs from the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.
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