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Journalism vs. English, How Different Are They Really?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hofstra chapter.

When it comes to the field of humanities and communication, lines can get a little blurry. Take journalism and English, for instance, many people who want to pursue either path can get confused very easily. You’d be surprised at how different these two areas actually are.

If a person is interested in pursuing English, then that course will be more focused on the language. Since English is such a broad area, there are many subcategories that fall under this category. English can cover literature, book publishing or even creative writing in addition to the language focus.

Typically, classes that focus on literature are geared to help students emphasize the smaller parts of it, like symbolism and all those literary devices you most likely learned in middle school. Since English is part of the humanities, this subcategory will also focus more on how a certain book has impacted society so it’s not just all about learning literary devices.

Unlike English, journalism tends to focus more on the industry as a whole. Some different types of journalism include sports, broadcast, entertainment, investigative, opinion, news, feature writing, columns and so much more! In contrast to English, these types of journalism focus more on that writing style and category.

According to Peppermint University’s “The Graphic,” entertainment journalism includes the coverage of the entertainment industry, the lives of celebrities and reviews of different art forms. While this journalism type focuses on the entertainment side of business, one similarity it has to English is the writing style and language. Language varies from each journalism type since each category is geared for a different audience.

If a person were writing a news article, the language may emphasize more the facts of a news-breaking story rather than what that person wore which would be important if it were an entertainment piece.

According to the University of Arizona, English is focused more on the evolution of the language and journalism will have you studying the history of the profession. Despite this, both career paths will enhance a person’s writing and analysis skills. Not to mention, they both teach you how to write specifics, such as AP Style and themes, rather than just the general writing style.  

The outcome of both English and journalism may help someone in the same regard but both fields are vastly different. In the public eye, English seems to focus on writing and reading. However, what’s failed to be mentioned is how it also ties into the psychological effects on the audience and broadens literary perspectives.

When people think of journalism, they tend to focus more on the news aspect since that’s the type of journalism the media is consumed by. The main aspect of journalism that makes it vastly different from English is how journalism reports the facts.

Even if it’s editorial or columns, journalists will always focus on telling information to their audience. Whereas English takes pieces of text, examines them, applies ideas and sees their impact on society.

If you’re unsure which path to take when it comes to these two careers, you just need to ask yourself if you prefer informing an audience or dissecting text. If it’s the first, then journalism is probably your best bet. If you’re drawn to the second, English is your calling!

Sabrina Blandon is an American Literature major at NYU's CAS. Her Author Spotlight series features reputable writers such as Xiran Jay Zhao and James Murray, as she hopes to add onto the list.