Should I risk going to a school without journalism?


I am a high school senior and I am interested in becoming a journalist. My plans for college are to double major in political science and journalism or communications. I am having a little bit of trouble with my college search because many of the schools that I would otherwise be interested in do not have journalism. However, in most cases, they do have communications. I was originally considering applying early decision to Vanderbilt, but I am having second thoughts because they do not have a journalism major. I think that I am more interested in journalism because it is a little bit more focused on actual journalism, but I still do not completely understand the difference between the two majors.

I know that journalism and communications are very similar, but could it make a big difference to employers? For example, if I wanted to one day work for a national newspaper such as the New York Times, would it be harder to get a job if I had a communications degree instead of a journalism degree? Also, will majoring in communications affect my chances at getting a good internship?

I am concerned about going to a school without journalism because I may later realize that a journalism degree is better for me and it may hinder my ability at getting a good job.

Hi, as a Political Science major whose interested in pursuing journalism, I hope I can give some advice.
For one thing, to make it in the journalism field, you do not need a journalism degree. Many big journalists do not have an actual journalism degree, but still are very successful at what they do. The important thing is to have the skills of a journalist…this means strong communication skills, writing skills, I would suggest a little experience in things like editing, video software, radio or broadcasting etc.
I go to a school that does not have an actual journalism major, but does have a communications major with classes in media. I chose to major in Political Science because as a journalist I want to understand the government that I’m reporting on. To learn the journalism aspect, I’m heavily involved with the campus newspaper, and have also gotten involved with campus radio. I’ve already gotten some work with a popular newspaper through networking and gaining experience by writing for multiple publications. I also plan on taking classes such as digital video editing, graphics design and some public speaking courses. The thing is, journalism skills can be learned by getting yourself involved in things like newspaper or having internships with media outlets, you don’t necessarily need a degree to learn these things.
I’m probably repeating myself now, but my advice is no, I don’t think it would make a difference to employers if you majored in communications instead of journalism. I don’t even think you need to major in communications or journalism to become a journalist and get a job. It definently won’t hurt and I’m not at all saying journalism is an entirely worthless degree, but I don’t think it’s that needed because you can learn the skills through different avenues as long as your dedicated to it. If you do end up going to a school that does not have a journalism major, I suggest making sure the school’s newspaper is good and active, and also if they have any other media organizations on campus such as a campus radio, TV etc. I hope this helps and good luck on your endeavors!

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