Majoring in Broadcast Journalism & Communications
After graduating from high school, many incoming college freshmen look forward to pursuing something exciting. Some land on the idea of getting into broadcasting, while others lean towards studying communications. While both of these majors may have some overlapping coursework and share some similarities, they do have their differences. Let’s take a closer look at the two concentrations!
Communications can be thought of as the overarching canvas, with broadcasting being an essential part of the picture. Majoring in communications, you will learn how to devise innovative strategies for effectively conveying messages, write in different styles (creative, descriptive, journalistic, persuasive) depending on the subject, and integrate video, audio, and imagery into assignments. In addition to a variety of communication classes, other supplementing required courses may include anthropology, philosophy, economics, sociology, political science, and psychology.
Some specialized fields that communications students eventually go into include:
- Media graphics
- Visual communications
- Sports reporting
- Web design
- Written journalism
- Video journalism
- Radio & cable TV
Those graduating with a Bachelor’s in communications can qualify to become:
- Public relations specialists – write press releases, organize press conferences and events, work for public relations, advertising, and marketing agencies or for government agencies, corporations, and nonprofits
- Technical writers – show how a product works by creating diagrams, instruction manuals, journal articles, how-to guides, and other supporting documents
- Blog writers – help business owners establish reputable online presences by writing regular blog articles relevant to their service(s) or product(s)
- Film/video editors & camera operators – control camera equipment in-studio and on-location for film and TV, as well as video broadcasts and recordings, and edit footage using special software
- Reporters & broadcast news analysts – inform the public about current events happening internationally, nationally, and locally via websites, newspapers, television, radio, and magazines
- Broadcast & sound engineer technicians – set up, operate, and maintain electrical equipment used for radio programs, concerts, sound recordings, movies, television broadcasts
- Social media managers – represent companies across social media channels by being the sole voice of the brand and establishing a strong online presence (respond to comments, create content, come up with campaign ideas, etc)
- Event planners – coordinate all moving parts to events and make sure everything goes smoothly (hire caterers, location scout, plan for entertainment, etc)
- College alumni & development officers – support & organize events and programs through an alumni relations office, handle promotion of special events through word of mouth and social media, plan/develop projects, and oversee events
- Human resources specialists – recruit, interview, and place workers, and handle tasks related to compensation and benefits, training, and employee relations
- Business reporters – collect facts about newsworthy events and report/write stories for a newspaper, radio, or TV
- Health educators – teach people about behaviors and habits that promote wellness by implementing strategies to improve people’s health
- Brand managers – adopt a brand strategy for a company’s target market and maintain brand integrity across all company communications and marketing initiatives
The earning potential with a communication’s degree is endless! If you’ve got some entrepreneurial spirit, you could even become a business owner and determine how much you make, rather than work for someone else.
Those going into broadcast journalism are interested in everything a communication’s major has to offer, but are keen on delving deeper into their refined focus. They know they want to get into news reporting, writing, researching, and airing news, or being part of a production. The broadcasting major will also prepare young adults for work in technical operations. This means they’ll be taught how to run everything from live productions to videography, editing, camera operations, and generating computer graphics.
Typical broadcast journalism major courses in college are:
- Broadcast news
- Media & society
- Reporting & news writing
- Electronic media production
- Communication theory
- Introduction to broadcasting and cable
- Mass communications law
Some entry-level positions in broadcasting include:
- Videographer – manage small scale productions including but not limited to documentaries, commercials, training videos, live events, short films, weddings, and legal depositions
- Video editor – assemble recorded raw material into a finished product and get it ready for broadcasting by putting together camera footage, dialogue, graphics, special effects, and sound effects
- Program producer – oversee video production on a TV program
- Podcast producer – manage a podcast, record and edit episodes, and participate in behind-the-scenes interaction(s)
- Broadcast news or entertainment reporter – interview numerous sources and write news stories related to current entertainment events
Which Major is Right for Me?
Both communications and broadcast journalism majors and their career paths will require strong writing, public speaking, persuasion, and relatability skills. Students in these fields must be attentive to detail and be able to see & understand the big picture.
Ultimately, your decision about whether either of these majors is right for you will depend on your individual interests, values, skills, and what you want to learn. Hopefully, after reviewing the key differences between the two majors and getting an idea of required coursework and potential career options, you can decide for yourself which is best for you!