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5 Best Online Colleges for Journalism in 2016

Journalism is a varied field, with reporters, magazine editors, and news anchors all counted among the ranks of journalists. While there are many types of journalists, their job descriptions share one commonality: writing is a cornerstone of their profession. Whether it’s news briefs or feature stories, journalists will hone their ability to communicate articulately, accurately, and effectively. The best journalists report on current issues and events while also providing a broader explanatory context, making otherwise complicated ideas and issues accessible to a wider audience that consists of their viewers and readers.

Because their roles and responsibilities are so varied, it is difficult to pin down the daily routine of any journalist. Generally speaking, journalists conduct research, interview sources, and produce news articles and features on topics vast and varied. The fruits of their reporting can take numerous forms, from broadcast news segments to flash graphics to blog posts. A journalist’s primary responsibility is to inform and educate. While at times they may strive to maintain objectivity, they may also write opinion pieces that offer critique.

As journalism majors, students will painstakingly develop their reporting, writing, and editing skills. The best online colleges for journalism offer classes on reporting, news writing, feature writing, editing, and investigative reporting, which are staples of most journalism programs. Students will also learn about professional ethics, civic responsibility, and legal issues such as libel. No matter what track students plan to pursue — print, broadcast, online, and so forth — they will develop skills for multiple platforms, including magazine, newspaper, online, and broadcast. Aside from taking journalism classes, a journalism student will learn to become a jack of many trades. Journalism requires a working knowledge of history, politics, culture, and current events; therefore, many programs require students to take a broad range of courses in diverse areas that may include art history, economics, and statistics.

Internships and practical experience are key in the field, and student journalists often work at school newspapers and magazines in addition to completing a number of internships at media outlets. Journalism is a competitive field that not only requires talent but determination. A journalist is curious and inquisitive; they must develop a knack for working well under pressure and efficiently on deadline. Aside from strong communication skills, journalists must be able to develop strong working relationships not only with their colleagues but also potential sources. Persistence and initiative are fundamental characteristics of success in this challenging field.

Journalism is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels; a Ph.D. in journalism is generally reserved for those who plan to teach in a university setting. While many working journalists do hold a degree in journalism, a significant percentage also hold degrees in related fields such as communications, political science, and English. Today’s media industry is in the midst of transition, as new technologies make former modes of news delivery seem antiquated. Therefore, aspiring journalists must develop multimedia skills, as news outlets endeavor to reinvent themselves by introducing video, slide shows, and other graphics.

Rankings

Want to view the full rankings? Download the PDF

Rank School Name Average Rating
1 Peirce College 8.78
2 Full Sail University 14.23
3 Regent University 17.06
4 National American University 17.49
5 Ashford University 19.27
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