Studying journalism is more than just trying to become a reporter, broadcaster or correspondent.
It’s about becoming a “better informed citizen,” says The University of Arizona’s School of Journalism; comprehending the “news media’s role in society,” says the Missouri School of Journalism; it’s about an “understanding of citizenship, democracy, or community,” says the Poynter Institute’s Roy Peter Clark, as quoted by Eckerd College.
A journalism minor is an ideal complement to a wide range of majors. The skills you learn in these specialized courses can be directly applied to a variety of careers—not just careers in journalism—and are highly valued by employers. They can foster your natural curiosity, increase your command of communication and enhance your awareness of your local and global world.
As a Complement to a Myriad of Majors
In a 2013 article in Hilltop Views, the school newspaper for St. Edward’s University, they announced their decision to offer a journalism specialization minor for their English and Rhetoric department. It was Jena Heath, assistant professor of English Writing and Rhetoric-Journalism, who had the idea to include this journalism minor.
Heath explains why a minor in journalism is a great idea for a diverse array of students:
“This is a wonderful minor for anyone from a political science major to an education major to a religion major. There are a lot of different ways to specialize in journalism.”
By majoring in English—or, as Heath mentioned majoring in the topic you are interested in covering—and minoring in journalism, you can learn journalism basics, while mastering another, more general or in demand discipline
Eckerd College, for example, mentions that its students that minor in journalism are majoring in all sorts of areas, like “Marine Science, Math, International Relations, Communication, Political Science, Creative Writing, History, Environmental Studies and Philosophy.”
School poster quotes me: "Without a serious study of journalism, there can be no understanding of citizenship, democracy, or community."
— Roy Peter Clark (@RoyPeterClark) February 5, 2013
Even Computer Science majors (writers who can also code are in hot demand), Business majors (being able to clearly communicate and market one’s brand or product is key) Natural Science majors (writing and research are integral for scientific reports/studies),and a myriad of other majors or even general/interdisciplinary studies students can benefit from minoring in journalism.
A minor in journalism will help you obtain a more well-rounded education, specialize, and ultimately cover more bases for a niche in the job market.
Examples of Journalism Minor Courses
Courses vary depending on journalism school, but just some examples of subjects you may delve into when minoring in journalism include:
- Introduction to Journalism
- History of Journalism
- Media Ethics and Law
- Reporting and writing
- Photojournalism/visual journalism
- International Journalism
- Online journalism
- And more!
Some journalism minor programs also allow you to specialize through electives and independent projects, in areas from creative non-fiction and sports journalism to investigative journalism, politics and social media.
Journalism Minors Gain Valuable Skills
If you decide to pursue a minor in journalism, there’s are some skills you should focus on to get the most out of your education. Proficiency in AP style, ethics, and mastering a journalistic writing style, are all skills important for a burgeoning journalist to learn. Perhaps the most sought after skill by employers currently, is fluency in AP style.
AP style, stands for the Associated Press Style, which is the writing and citation format style designed and implemented by the Associated Press. It’s the most universal style used by publications.
Knowing AP style is an essential skill for those interested in writing for a living in any capacity. St. Edward’s University’s English Writing and Rhetoric professor, Mary Rist, weighs in (as quoted by Hilltop Views’ Jonathan Coker) on the importance of learning AP style:
“Lots of the internship supervisors I have worked with for professional writing internships want interns to know AP style since that is the style that many organizations use for their in-house communication, for their web content and for their publications.”
Other important skills you can gain, that can transfer to not only journalism, but many careers, is researching reputable and multiple sources, interviewing individuals, keeping abreast of local and international news, clearly communicating key messages, visual/multimedia presentation and networking.
So before you write-off studying journalism all-together, consider a minor in the subject.
Whether you major in a topic you’re passionate about, or one you think will secure your place in the job market, it can be a smart, profitable choice.
You might even realize a career in journalism is your true niche. But learning how to write, communicate, research and question well through minoring in journalism will help you in any profession you choose to pursue.