Journalism and a free press are key elements of a free, democratic society. Without reporters to tell people the truth, and to investigate the statements of powerful people, citizens wouldn't know how to react to events. If you are drawn to pursue journalism as your career, our hat is off to you. Journalists do very hard work and are often maligned for doing so.
That's part of why we put together this list of resources. To succeed in a major in journalism and then later as a full-time journalist, you need to have as many solid resources as you can get. Students need to have the tools necessary to discern the best programs, electronic tools, and networking opportunities. Professionals need to find each other and to also read current reports and studies from elsewhere in the profession. Thus, you can keep this page bookmarked for use throughout your career.
Resources for Journalism Students
As a budding journalist, it's important to understand more about the journalism programs you might apply to. First you need to find the programs that best match your long-term goals, whether that be broadcast journalism, sports journalism, or investigative journalism, among other focus areas. Then you should look at other items, such as the newspaper the program produces, and any other media students create.
You also need to be certain that the school is fully accredited. Journalism programs have their own accrediting agency, ACEJMC. This is a national, independent agency that has specific criteria for journalism programs, and they accredit some of the nation's best programs. When you attend such an accredited program, your job prospects will increase, as will the overall quality of your education.
In lieu of that accreditation, you should make certain that your school at least has accreditation from one of the following regional agencies:
Questions About Financial Aid
Prior to enrolling in your journalism classes, you'll need to find a way to pay for them. There are many options for you to explore. The first financial aid options you should investigate are those that don't require you to repay any of the funds. That would, of course, include grants and scholarships available to college students.
When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your college's financial aid office will likely submit it for consideration to a number of free funding resources. This is more likely at larger institutions but feel free to ask your financial aid office about their scholarship resources. Even if they don't automatically submit your paperwork for scholarships, they may have a list of foundations that seek to support journalism students such as yourself.
If you are from a less-privileged background, you might qualify for the Federal Pell Grant Program. These funds are intended to provide much-needed assistance for those who are from a low-income background whose families cannot offer much financial help for their education.
On top of that, there's no substitute for doing independent research. Seek out journalism scholarships from charitable organizations in your hometown, such as the Rotary Club. Churches may also have scholarships available for parishioners or other locals and businesses often support local students who are related to their employees. Though their awards might not be tremendous, a few small awards can go a long way considering that you'll never have to borrow that money.
However, most students will need to borrow some money to complete their studies. If you must take out student loans, you’ll first need to submit your FAFSA. These loans usually have favorable interest rates and flexible repayment plans. These funds must be repaid, with interest, but they can ensure that you attain a diploma and achieve your journalistic dreams.
If, for some reason, you exhaust your available federal loan funds, you can consider private student loans. These often help graduates as they study for professional examinations such as those for a CPA or other credentials. Unless you have excellent credit, you’ll likely want to avoid private loans as they can have high interest rates and repayment plans for those with low or bad credit. A good private loan to look at that usually has better interest rates and repayment options is a Sallie Mae loan.
Journalism Associations for Students
Joining an association can be a terrific boon to your journalism education. These organizations offer students a variety of fantastic benefits. Many will provide special periodicals, including e-mail newsletters, journals, and even some discounts to help with your college expenses. You can also attend their conferences where you can meet up with fellow students and perhaps have an opportunity to rub elbows with practicing professionals. Most associations also offer special member rates to students.
- Society of Professional Journalists:
Membership to the SPJ opens up the possibility of regional and national conferences, discounts, a career center, and a legal defense fund for professionals.
- Asian American Journalists Association:
Students receive generous membership rates as well as training opportunities, grants, and more. With over 1,500 members worldwide, you'll have a wide network to call on when you're out in the field.
- Association for Women in Communications:
This association will ensure that your professional life is fully supported by members of your tribe. There are even student chapters; if there's not one on your campus, you can contact them and arrange to start one.
- Association for Women in Sports Media:
This is a niche area so you'll want to bolster your networking with other women in the profession. Membership entitles you to receive a newsletter, discounts, and lots more.
- Investigative Reporters & Editors:
IRE provides members with over 3,000 tip sheets to help with your reporting. This resource alone will justify your membership fee. However, you'll also receive a journal, join listservs, and have access to exclusive databases.
- The National Press Club:
This lauded institution opens its doors to top professional journalists and students, too. Membership entitles you to exclusive training sessions, workshops, networking, and more.
Student or Open Access Journals
As a journalism student you have a lot on your plate. However, if you supplement your classroom reading with a journal from the front lines of journalism, you can stay a step ahead. These journals discuss current hot topics in the profession, and they will provide you with these insights free of charge in the case of open access journals. Your academic work will certainly benefit, and your later career will, too.
Journalism Study Resources
Journalism is a craft. As such, it requires that its practitioners be diligent in how they hone and perfect their tools. During your college years, you can add materials to your reading list that will help you develop and perfect the tools you need to become a world-class journalist. These online resources are just as informative as they are easy to access. You can peruse them on a study break in the library or wherever you plop your laptop.
Journalism; there's an app for that. Indeed, journalists have long relied on note-taking and research. Now that mobile phones have become so smart, you can download apps that will become indispensable in your journalism career.
There are also apps that will help you aggregate your reading material. All good journalists need to stay up to date on current events, especially if you have a specific focus area. Electronic media makes it easy to sort the information you need to have at your fingertips. Furthermore, as a student you'll need to not only sort your research material but to also organize your life. There are apps for that, too.
- Google Docs:
Google Docs is a terrific tool for composing and storing stories. If you're working a story in collaboration with another journalist, you can share notes, drafts, and information, which will save you both a lot of time.
- Tape a Call:
Journalists may need a way to record phone conversations in order to keep a record of their interviews that can’t be done in person. You can download this vital app today and do the same. After all, you’re not flying across the country to interview someone as a student.
- Scanner Radio:
If you're working on a crime beat, this scanner app will be an immense help. You'll be the first at the scene and the first with the scoop.
All journalism students need to be organized and you're no exception. Evernote is a terrific way to keep up with your busy life.
- Transcribe Me:
Have a lead in mind, but your laptop is miles away? Dictate your brilliant ideas into this app and then export the results to your choice of file formats.
Feedly is one of the best news aggregators available. It pulls headlines and full stories both from your favorite sources and those that match specific keywords.
Ever read a story and know that it'll be useful later? Pocket lets you save stories and tag them with keywords such as term paper research.
Nothing will prepare you for a newsroom like working in an actual newsroom. You might not be given a byline or deadlines, but you will have the experience of a lifetime. You'll work hard and discover what goes into reporting the news, from soup to nuts. Who knows? Your editor may just send you out to interview local business owners or cover the city council on a day when they are doing something truly newsworthy.
Even if you don't break national news, you will gain experience and have the chance to network with the people most important to your career. Your resume will show hard work and dedication to your field, too. In no time your resume will be a hot ticket to success.
Resources for Students and Professionals
Journalism Certification Options
If you already have a degree but are interested in expanding into journalism, you might consider a certificate. After all, journalistic writing is its own beast, and far different from the academic writing you might be accustomed to. You can investigate a few certificate options and find one that suits you best. Remember that you don't have to work for a newspaper for a journalism background to be valuable. Many businesses need writers to create marketing materials, to produce company publications, and more.
After you cross the stage with a diploma in your hand, you might have a big question looming in your mind. What now? If you don't have a job lined up, don't worry too much. As a trained journalist you can surely find temporary assignments that will help prepare you for your first full-time job. A wide variety of companies need a journalism major to help with corporate communications and you can also consider becoming a stringer for your local paper. Even some major papers have stringers in smaller markets to cover large stories when they break.
Resources for Journalism Professionals
Professional Journalism Associations
When you graduate and enter the workforce, you’ll likely want to join a professional association. Membership will provide many benefits and may become a vital part of your career. Among the many key elements of membership are the job opportunities and networking events they provide. You might spend a weekend a year at regional or national conferences, for example, or simply interact with stimulating journalistic minds on a proprietary discussion board. Associations also offer periodicals including journals and newsletters which keep you up to date with the latest journalistic research and industry news.
Associations are also known to have job board that especially cater to members. This lets you avoid irrelevant job postings. When you're in the hiring seat you'll still rely on associations as a source of the very best journalism has to offer.
Popular Journalism Journals
As a journalism professional, your learning is never complete. The world continues to change and with that so do your methods of reporting on it. To stay current with the news industry, you may decide to subscribe to a variety of periodicals. Your newspaper or magazine probably maintains a library for you to peruse, but you might want a few for yourself, to read at your leisure. As you explore the issues in those pages, you can learn and grow as a professional journalist as we experience very interesting times.
Industry Conferences for Journalists Professionals
As a journalist you are a lifelong learner. Every day, you deliver stories to a public who is eager to learn more about their world. However, you also need to constantly seek new perspectives and insights. Conferences are a great outlet for learning and sharing your knowledge. Whether you’re chairing a panel, an honored keynote speaker, or an average attendee, a conference is a fantastic time to absorb new information. Simply walking around and attending the meet & greet events will let you share stories with colleagues from all over the nation. Make sure you budget time and travel expenses for at least one conference per year.