With all the concern about finding a job in journalism these days, business journalism may be a smart specialty. Not only is it one sect of journalism that seems to still be in demand, but having up-to-date knowledge of the business world is very useful for any professional. So if you’re considering studying journalism, but unsure about job prospects, perhaps specializing in business journalism is a smart choice. There are many ways you can go about preparing for a career in business journalism. Just as with all careers in journalism, business journalism is very competitive. So the proper education and experience is necessary if you hope to succeed in this field.
There are a number of ways you can educate yourself to become a business journalist. Many schools offer programs specifically for business journalism. For instance, University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers a Business Journalism Major. Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism is another great school that offers a Business Journalism Specialty. Of course, getting a specialty major in business journalism, isn’t the only educational route available.
One way to gain experience and knowledge of business journalism, and make yourself a more marketable journalism applicant, is to major in journalism, and minor in finance, economics, or business. The most important thing for a budding business journalists to understand is economic trends. A major in economics or business, with a minor in journalism is another way to go about it. While understanding journalism is obviously majorly important for someone pursuing a career in journalism, a journalist with a deep knowledge of economics or finance is hugely in-demand.
In addition to a sound, solid education in the field, business journalism, as with every other career choice, requires real life experience as well. There are many ways students can gain this experience while they’re still in school. An article on ReynoldsCenter BUSINESSJOURNALISM.ORG titled, Crafting a business journalism education: Tips for newbies, offers some sage advice regarding gaining experience while getting your education.
Spitz suggests journalists take business classes, learn micro and macroeconomics and buy a stock to study a company and follow its ups and downs. Understanding how to read a balance sheet is also a vital skill. For practical experience, she said students should secure internships on the business desk or with a business publication and ask to shadow someone writing an earnings story. The article quoted Jill Jorden Spitz, who’s president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and Arizona Daily Star’s assistant managing business editor. She offered up some great advice on gaining experience while in school.
“Spitz suggests journalists take business classes, learn micro and macroeconomics and buy a stock to study a company and follow its ups and downs. Understanding how to read a balance sheet is also a vital skill.” The article reads.
“For practical experience, she said students should secure internships on the business desk or with a business publication and ask to shadow someone writing an earnings story.”
As with any career, specialization is key to making yourself a marketable, viable candidate. With a career as competitive as journalism, specialization isn’t just a good idea, it’s pretty much mandatory. The great thing about business journalism, is that it is not only very marketable, it’s actually incredibly interesting. Business news is a good way to stay informed about all of the goings-on in any given location. So instead of fretting about the lack of jobs in journalism, study business too, and you’ll be sure to find work. If all else fails, your knowledge of business, finance and/or economy will be an incredibly lucrative back-up plan.