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What school subjects do I need to study Journalism and do i need maths core?

I have a personal interest in literature, the English language and in whats happening in the world. My dream is to one day become a journalist and in order for me to achieve this, I need to have taken the correct subjects in school. I come from South Africa which is a rich and diverse country which I would one day hope to write about. Please can somebody help me as i have looked all over the internet for answers but I cannot seem to come across a person who can give me the correct information that I need. Thank you very much in advance. -Hannah
#journalism #careers #media

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Daniela’s Answer


So you're a high school or college student, and you want to work in the news business, but you're not sure where to start. Here, step-by-step, is a list of the things you can do to have a good shot at landing a journalism job when college graduation rolls around.

Choose The Journalism School That's Right For You
There are dozens if not hundreds of journalism schools across the country. How do you find the one that fits your needs? Look carefully at the qualifications of your professors and the quality of the student newspaper. Check out what other extracurricular activities available and see whether the school has state-of-the-art technology, or outdated equipment.

Write For Your Student Newspaper
Sure, joining the staff of your student newspaper is extra work, but there are plenty of reasons why you should do it anyway. Student newspapers provide the practical experience that editors are looking for, and writing for one is a great way to build your clip portfolio. Also, working for a college paper is the best way to get a sense of whether journalism is the career for you.

Learn Marketable Skills
It's not enough any more to just know how to write and report. Journalists need to have as many technical skills as possible to survive in the 21st century news business. Whether you're making web pages, doing layout or shooting digital video, such tech skills will make you more versatile - and marketable. More »

Learn About Different Jobs in Journalism
Whether you want to work in magazines or broadcast, newspapers or online journalism, you should find out as much as you can about your area of interest. Does the fast pace of a wire service appeal to you? Or are magazines more your speed? Do you long to be in front of a camera, or are you more of a behind-the-scenes type? Here you can find information about the many kinds of journalism careers there are.

You can take all the classes you want, but there's nothing like learning about the news biz from someone who's working in it right now. Seek out mentors - journalists in local media or journalism professors - to learn how they established successful careers in their respective fields. Here you can hear directly from journalists working in a variety of jobs - from a reporter at a weekly community paper to the Beijing bureau chief of The Washington Post. More »

In: http://journalism.about.com/od/careersinjournalism/fl/Six-Things-You-Need-to-do-to-Land-a-Journalism-Job.htm


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Stefania’s Answer

I'm excited for your journey, Hannah! How marvelous that you already have your passion figured out. To answer your question -- math, statistics and sciences are not required subjects to become a journalist. However, the ability to turn numbers or facts into a compelling story and the art of interpreting data may be something you come across. Other more current courses you might encounter may be digital and blogging-focused required courses given today's accent on the digital world of news sources.

You will, however, have to work at your craft. You will have to think closely about what type of journalism you'd like to do and the type of environment you'd like to be in (so many options). There are some strategic, thought-provoking things you can do day to day or week to week to position yourself at a creative advantage:

1) Find subjects you are enthusiastic about and write about them -- even just 15-30 minutes every day. Write a little every single day.

2) Read what others are writing about and try to think about finding a new, fresh perspective. Many people are writing about similar topics and a fresh voice with a new angle or perspective is important otherwise you will be lost in a sea of sameness.

3) Importantly, what are people NOT writing about? What are some of the gaps in the stories you might be seeing? Try and take an article that you have enjoyed reading, re-write it from your own perspective -- what would you do differently?

4) Be aware of your tone/voice/objective in your writing. Figure out what type of writing you are best at. Are you are a light-hearted, humorous writer? Serious about documentaries and history? Are you informing/education people? Asking them to do something? Prefer Short-form? Long-form? Bring writing to life with examples and emotional connections and above all storytelling. There are many free writing classes you can take online, perhaps try and take some online classes or for a nominal fee to help keep you engaged and current.

5)Try writing for your school or community newspaper. Volunteer your time in the type of environment that appeals to you to get some exposure and practice. Not to mention, contacts are very important. Keep records of influential people you meet and keep connected with them through email or social media channels.

6) You do not have to study journalism in it's purity to become a journalist. Consider studies in Communications or Media or English, all which will work well for you.

7) Begin keeping a portfolio of your articles or writing. Start a blog if you wish to start getting exposure and have a place to archive your thoughts and perspectives.

You may also want to check out this website: https://www.helpareporter.com/ for inspiration.

Best of luck to you!

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Monica’s Answer

I think your curiosity about the world and your love of English will make you a great journalist. I was a journalist for 20 years and in college I never too one math course. I am happy to report math is NOT necessary for journalism. But you do need to be a good writer and you need to really understand what you are writing about. I didn't study journalism to become a journalist - I studied what I wanted to cover - international relations. I then reported in Kenya and Brazil. My schooling gave me a good basis of understanding what I was reporting on. And my love of reading and writing made me a good journalist. But you don't need to wait to become a journalist - start writing for your high school or college newspaper. ONe of the most important things you will need to be successful is a file of "clips" stories you have written. You can start now - no math needed.

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Donna’s Answer

Before discussing school subjects, does your school have a newspaper? Or a magazine? Or a journalism club? One great way to get familiar with journalism is to get some experience working on a school publication. That said, depending on what kind of journalism you plan to do, math (you call it "maths" in your country; we call it "math" in the US) can be useful, but not essential. More important would be courses in creative writing, world history, and English. When you get to college (or university), you may want to study political science, if you plan on covering politics; take courses in statistics, so that you will know how to accurately interpret polling data; and study the sciences-- especially if you plan on covering topics like health, climate change, the oceans, weather, etc. But the most important subjects at the high school level would relate to current events and writing. If you are a good writer, and if you are aware of current events, that will help you when you study journalism. Once you get to university-level courses, you will be studying the history and best practices of journalism, you will meet professional journalists, and you get experience working at campus media outlets like the newspaper or TV or radio station. But for now, focus on becoming a good writer, and learn as much as you can about what is going on in the world.

Donna recommends the following next steps:

Read a newspaper (or two) to keep up with current issues. I recommend websites like the BBC and Reuters (pronounced ROY-ters), which have news from all over the world.
If your school has a newspaper, join it and write for it. Learn as much as you can about how to do a good interview, how to ask good questions, how to find out accurate information, etc.
Learn to fact-check. Sadly, there are many myths and misconceptions all over the internet (and many fake quotes). When you read something online, even if it seems true, seek out reliable and reputable sources to make sure what you are reading is fact-based, rather than opinion-based. The more accurate you are, the more respected you will be as a journalist.
Find some journalists, whether in print or on TV/radio, who are respected, and notice how they do their jobs. Take some notes, and learn from their work. You will, of course, develop your own style, but it never hurts to learn from experienced and respected professionals.