How To Make a Career in Journalism after 12th

Take a look at the following examples:

  • The walls of your room are adorned with pictures of the country’s greatest sportsmen/superstars
  • You have a great cover story in the most circulated newspaper, by your byline
  • There are over a million listeners glued to their radio sets once you take to the mic early in the morning, even before the day breaks
  • Viewers recognize you for reporting from a war-hit zone and your channel tops the TRP list
  • You have your morning breakfast with the country’s greatest sportsmen

Do the above instances look unrealistic? Not at all.

Do they look like a dream? Yes!

Top careers in journalism are almost like a dream come true. A journalist is perhaps the luckiest to have been in places, met people, witnessed incidents, and bypassed dangers, that the common people cannot even think of.

Why Choose Journalism as a Career Path after 12th

Journalism is perhaps the most creative profession if you choose it. It is lucrative as well. Media is an indispensable part of life. It is the 4th pillar of democracy.

Apparently, the profession looks extremely glamorous, but it takes a considerable amount of effort to get where you wish to see yourself. The media contribute to bringing about societal change, influence cultures, report facts, and provide impartial information to the mass. Thus, a career in journalism is much more than just glamour and money.

Career Scopes and Types of Roles

A degree in journalism will open many doors for you. You can juggle creative writing, editing, communication, and research. A lot of avenues await young, fresh media graduates who are driven, enthusiastic, outspoken, and have a zeal to prove their mettle. Read more about journalism and mass communication careers and jobs.

Popular Job Roles with a Degree in Journalism

Core Journalism Areas

  • Print Journalist – they are employed with newspapers / magazines. They report incidents from the point of occurrence and get them printed in the newspaper by their byline (name).
  • Broadcast Journalist – they are employed with news channels. Broadcast journalism is considered to be the most glamorous of all. The viewers not only get to see the incident being reported, they also see ‘who’ is reporting it. Broadcast journalists report from the site, directly to the channel newsroom.
  • Photojournalist – they are basically camera wizards. The pictures they take, speak more than the written document. The forest, the desert, the war-zone (Example: Russia-Ukraine), flood-hit areas – all come to life with just a few pictures taken by these extremely creative professionals.
  • Researchers – they are the excavators. These people are inquisitive. They dig deep into a certain matter, and do the entire research for the print or electronic media they are employed with.
  • Editor / Sub-editor – they are mostly senior professionals who work closely with the reporting team to plan and edit content. They also ensure the uniformity and continuity of both print and electronic media
  • Radio Jockey – people instantly recognize them by their voice and the shows they conduct. We all have grown up listening to Ameen Sayani.

Under Print and Broadcast Journalism, you can specialize in Political Journalism, Sports Journalism, Science Journalism, or Financial Journalism.

Alternative Career Options for Journalism Graduates

  • Copywriters – this bunch is responsible for generating words and slogans to go with the advertising material. Imagine the catchy taglines: Dil Maange More (Pepsi), Be a little Dillogical (Lays), Just Do It (Nike), A Diamond is Forever (De Beers), Because You’re Worth It (L’Oreal), Think Different (Apple). All these are works of some incredible copywriters.
  • Public Relations Specialist – their main role involves creating and maintain a positive image of the company they work for.
  • Branding and Communication Professionals

How to Prepare for Journalism while in High School

If you think you have that zeal for serious hard work, that grit, and accepting the fact that you will not work for any leading national daily right at the very outset, the rest will automatically follow. The thumb rule of journalism is to read the newspaper line by line. Daily.

That done, you need to keep track of all things happening in and around the country – sports, politics, business, art and culture, economics, history, entertainment. The more updated your stay, the more likely you are going to shine in this sector.

If there’s a school magazine, student newspaper/journal that comes out at regular intervals, it is suggested that you get involved in it. Start writing as much as you can. Journalism requires excellent writing and editing skills. There are students’ radio stations in a few schools.

Volunteer to be a Radio Jockey. Keep track of TV/radio programs that address youngsters. Visit their office and volunteer for one / two such programs. Many national dailies have students’ columns/student supplementary (The Telegraph In Schools – TTIS, for instance). Try to contribute to those areas.

This would not only enhance your flair in writing, but also make you inquisitive, and you can show it in your CV, later on.

Career Path: Required Education & Skills to Make Career in Journalism

A career in journalism requires only three basic skills – reading, writing, and communicating in English. No matter which stream you pursue in high school, you can always get into journalism for your Bachelors. Eligibility criteria differ from one college/university to another. However few basic prerequisites can be enumerated as below:

  • Minimum 50% in 10+2 boards
  • 10+2 must be from any recognized central / state board of education
  • Few colleges / Universities require English as a mandatory subject in 10+2
  • For a post graduate Degree, a candidate needs to hold a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication & Journalism with minimum 50% marks
  • For a PG Diploma, 45% would do fine at the Bachelors level

Best Journalism Courses After 12th

  • Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Bachelor of Journalism
  • BA in Media Studies
  • BSc in Media Science
  • Bachelors in Liberal Arts with Major in Journalism
  • Bachelors in Journalism, Film and Television Studies
  • BA/BSc in Multimedia

Skills that make a journalist are:

  • Command over language – English and local/regional
  • Good knowledge in diverse subjects – sports, politics, religion, culture, social and current affairs
  • Alertness
  • Patience, confidence, perseverance, and enthusiasm
  • Adaptive and tolerant to different people and situations – easy or difficult
  • Excellent communication skills
  • An inquisitive and investigative mind
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Ability to differentiate between fact and fiction
  • Sensitive to different beliefs, lifestyles, races, gender, ideas, customs, laws, arts, and morals

Advice For Making a Career in Journalism

Ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to become a journalist?

If your answer is, ‘because it’s lucrative and glamorous’, then stop right there. There are several other career options that offer more money and more glamour. You can pursue them as well.

However, if your answer is something like, ‘ I want to deal with real people, real issues, dig out answers, unravel facts, tell stories and talk about incidents which might bring about some kind of social change’ – then just dive into it!

This is a field that is based on experiential learning. No matter how much you study your textbooks, or how many practical classes you attend – what you learn in the field is what will stay with you for the rest of your life.

The journalism industry keeps on reinventing itself. Thus what you see today might not sync with what you see 5 years later. This is an incredibly difficult field with new newspapers and news channels springing out of nowhere. If you are not able to provide anything new, anything exclusive, someone else will take your place in just no time!

Quick Career Tips

Keep a few basic points in mind:

  • Be passionate about your job
  • Look for good mentors, who can help you sail through rough waters in the initial years
  • Be a little nosy. Do not be afraid to ask pertinent questions, no matter what situation it is
  • Be assertive and enterprising
  • Forget a 5-day work week. It is a 24/7 job and you are required to be available at any given point in time

All said and done – if you really have it in you, then hoping to read an exclusive news story by your byline!

High school is a wonderful time if you make good use of it. Again, your academic performance will always be the prime focus, but that’s not the only focus; every youngster should focus on building themselves up to be a value-adding person to the University ecosystem they want to get into. Not only will all these extracurriculars help you grow as a person, but they will also get you ready for the years to come when you’re abroad.

Editor’s Note:

Sreeparna will be teaching the “Mass Communication” and “Science Journalism” Modules in the upcoming Liberal Arts Summer Program for Grade 8 – 12 Students. The 3-Week Online program includes Visual Arts, Mass Communication & Journalism, Storytelling, Creative Writing, Graphic Design, Academic Research, Entrepreneurship & Finance, College Essays, Liberal Arts College Admissions Guidance, and Electives around STEM subjects. If you are interested, feel free to Apply Here.

Featured Image Source: Learn Unlearn

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