Should I keep my Journalism Major?

If you want a job in communications, you may have to re-evaluate what you’re willing to do.

Jobs in broadcasting and traditional reporting are seeing a decrease, but the field of communications is far from dead. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, communication jobs are projected to rise by 4 percent by the year 2024, resulting in approximately 27,400 new jobs. This is slower than the average of  6 percent, but not a complete halt.

However, traditional news and broadcast jobs may not appeal to recent graduates. In 2014, the median pay for announcers was only $29,010, and the median pay for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts was only $37,200. These numbers do not see a significant rise unless you are an editor, in which you may make up to $54,000.

Communications jobs still plentiful

The truth is, if you want to make money in communications, you may be best suited to steer away from news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public relations specialists can earn up to $55,680 per year, while Forbes reports that for managers, the average pay can be up to $104,380 per year, and ranks it in the top 10 best managerial positions.


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Technical writing stable, growing

The most money in communications, though, is in technical writing. Technical writing is set to grow 10 percent by 2024, with a 2015 average pay of $70,240 per year. Technical writing is the job of creating documentation for scientific processes, how-to’s, and explanations. Though this might sound boring, these statistics don’t lie.

“Do you want to know why,” Michael Fulton, a senior at Clarkson University in New York asked. “Because computer scientists can’t write. We write all this code, and someone has to document it.”

“It sounds as boring as it gets, though,” he added, jokingly. “That’s why they have to pay you so much.”

Still hope for journalism majors

However, reporting jobs may not be as dead as the numbers seem, according to Ryan Jaster, the online editor at the Quad City Times. Jaster believes that rather, the field is shifting, which the statistics are unable to reflect.

“I think it’s the time for freelance,” he advised. “Be willing to move, to go where the news goes; and never do anything for free.”

With the rise of citizen journalism, Jaster says a smart graduate should take advantage of this trend. Being an on-site reporter can help you make more money than you could at a regular news station, if you know how to network well.

Traditional news may be harder to enter than it used to, but the field still has positions to offer, and more importantly, positions to create. So, don’t let your degree get you down — there’s hope yet.

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