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Beyond The Newspaper: My Time As A Journalism Major

I was sitting in my high school guidance counselor’s office when she asked me, “So, what do you want to do for the rest of your life?”

To say I was speechless is an understatement. Yes, I knew what subjects I excelled in compared to others. But what did I like enough to do for the rest of my life? On one hand, I was interested in writing, reading and editing. And on the other hand, I always had an interest in social media and design. So, what was I supposed to do? English Education? Literature? Publishing? Media relations? Graphic Design? To say the least, I was confused.

It was then that I came across a YouTube video on journalism. I didn’t know what journalism really was before that video, and I’m so happy I clicked on it. And maybe just like that, you too will be happy you clicked on this article.   

SO, WHAT IS JOURNALISM

Journalism is “the production and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas and people that are the ‘news of the day’ and that informs society to at least some degree,” or so Wikipedia says. In other words, journalism is the giving out of information useful to the general public.

While Wikipedia isn’t wrong, when first reading that definition as a senior in college unsure of what to major in, all I thought of were those black-and-white papers that my grandparents would read while sipping their morning coffee.

So, let me just say, while newspapers are an important medium where journalists present said information, they’re not all that journalism has to offer. Aside from them, you can journey to other media like television, radio, magazines, news websites and even social media.

And along with that, while the prominent journalistic article is the news article, there is a variety of other content waiting to be presented in the journalism world. Some of these are:

  • Features: stories that give more depth into topical issues of people, events and issues
  • Blog Posts: informal discussions of topics like lifestyle, entertainment, health and wellness, etc.
  • Social Media Content: pictures or video clips that present information

MY EXPERIENCES IN JOURNALISM

In my own experience with my classes, I have fallen in love with journalism. My professors have all done a great job of not only teaching us aspiring journalists the craft but also expressing their passion for such, which inevitably spread to us. Beyond the practice of writing, my professors taught a variety of other journalism-related routes:

  • Television Broadcasting
  • Radio Broadcasting
  • Social Media Management (content, engagement, analytics)
  • Visual Communication (design techniques, adobe applications)  

WHY STUDY JOURNALISM

Aside from the abundance of paths you can take if majoring in journalism, the demand for journalists will always be prevalent. While physical newspapers may be dying, the need for people to select and present information to the public in other ways – television, radio, magazines, news websites, blogs and/or social media – will never die.

So, if you’re sitting on the other end of this screen thinking, “Hey, I like writing,” “Wow, I definitely want to provide information to the public” or “You know, I’m interested in design and social media,” then maybe journalism is the right place for you.

Alexa Fricilone

Illinois State '23

I’m a senior at Illinois State University majoring in journalism with an English minor. I’m a books over movies, iced coffee-loving, let's stay in and binge Netflix kind of girl, who also loves to write. Follow me on insta! @alexafricilone