So You Want to be a Journalist?

—Christian Clark, Public Relations—

High schoolers are in a spot where they are presented with an important question. What do you want to do when you grow up? You can be a doctor, dentist, veterinarian, engineer, businessman, car mechanic, and a multitude of others. However, did you ever consider journalism? There are many jobs that stem from being part of journalism that most people don’t realize exist. So you wanna be a journalist, eh? Here are five steps that you can take to explore the profession or take the next step

Attend a college that specializes in journalism  

Whether you are an underclassmen or upperclassmen, it is never too early to be active in the college process. It isn’t a necessity to get a bachelor’s degree in journalism or mass communications but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Colleges such as Northwestern, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Missouri, Syracuse University, and Arizona State University have well renowned programs that would put their students in the best position to get a job after college. If you want to stay local, places such as Virginia Tech and James Madison University have solid programs as well.

  1. Have some inspiration

    Photo Courtesy Augusta Free Press

Do you have a passion for something specific in the field of Mass Communications. PR, Social Media, broadcasting, sports, politics, photography, and many other concentrations and topics are all a part of this broad field. Find what you love and there is a good shot that your passion could end up being your next dream job.

  1. Look for summer internships/camps and other various opportunities

Search “Summer journalism camps for high school students” and see what comes up. There are several opportunities with colleges which allow students to work hands-on with cameras, on set, and writing on a deadline. Most importantly, you can make connections with people in that major and could help you get a job or be accepted into college later down the road. In addition, it will be a good indicator if journalism is something that you could see yourself doing for a career instead of aimlessly spending thousands of dollars on a uncertain future.

  1. Be a self-starter

Think outside the box. Call NBC12 or CBS 6, two local news stations and request a tour.

Photo Courtesy to LinkedIn

Go to the Richmond Times Dispatch or Chesterfield Observer and write a letter to the editor. Check out a local college and sit in on a journalism class or if you’re lucky, a broadcasting booth. Chances are, these institutions would be glad to host visitors and give you a first hand account of what their profession is like.

  1. Get involved in your school

There is opportunities to get involved at Cosby too. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the Cosby Bolt online newspaper class which is available for all grade levels. Even if there is no room on your schedule for journalism, you can still take high level English classes such as College Composition, AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature to help refine your writing craft.

There are so many opportunities that are waiting. Sometimes the path is paved through your own efforts. Will you be the next Walter Cronkite, Anderson Cooper, or Cris Collinsworth? The choice is yours.