Bring More Objectivity to the News With a Career in Journalism

Journalists and reporters help people understand and come to terms with what’s happening in a specific area or across the globe. Current events shape the way individuals see the world, making news a crucial vehicle for offering context. Journalists do more than just report on current events; they conduct research and interviews, then communicate the information they uncover with clarity and accuracy. In an age where misinformation is spread through social media and unreliable news sources, truth and accuracy are more essential than ever.

The Dire Need for More Black Journalists

Currently, about three-quarters of newsroom employees are non-Hispanic White, according to a 2018 analysis. Nearly half are White men. At a minimum, America needs more Black journalists to achieve proportional and equitable representation in this highly influential field, which can directly shape the worldviews of everyone in the nation.

Further, now and throughout US history, African American representation matters because of the enormous potential it has to uncover, mitigate, and help eliminate ongoing racial injustices. Achieving a more just balance of demographics in journalism can provide the following benefits:

  • Diverse perspectives and coverage. The lack of Black journalists in the industry has led to a comparative absence of diverse perspectives in news coverage. Black journalists bring essential insights and understanding to stories, especially those related to racial issues and marginalized communities. Black professionals can cover stories with greater empathy and awareness than others, such as those about police violence against unarmed African Americans and racial disparities in citations, arrests, and prosecutions. Nearly all other areas of focus, too, from political journalism to food and book reviews, are and have been lacking in diversity of voices. As a journalist, you’ll be able to bring recognition to issues, movements, arts, and concepts long denied mainstream coverage by predominantly White journalists.
  • Challenging the status quo. The traditional newsroom culture often supports a status quo that may inadvertently favor White, middle-class perspectives. This approach often caters to and reinforces those values while ignoring and, by implication, devaluing others. Black journalists challenge this by bringing different viewpoints and experiences to the table. They can help diversify investigative teams, challenge assumptions about bias and objectivity, and contribute to more impactful reporting. 
  • Addressing racial divides. Research has shown that Black and White news consumers often have divergent views of the media, which contribute to social and political rifts. The underrepresentation of African Americans as newsroom employees has led to a disconnect between news organizations and Black viewers, who often feel misunderstood by the media. Increasing the number of Black journalists can create a more inclusive media landscape — and possibly more united viewers.

Interested in making the field of journalism — and by extension, society as a whole — more just? Here’s what you need to know about various career types and how to prepare for them.

Career Types and Profession Outlook

Once limited to broadcast radio, TV or cable networks, and print, journalists today have more media and work environment types to choose from than ever. Some even write and report for a combination of media, including podcasts, websites, social media channels, or streaming service outlets. Many journalists publish blogs.

Although job growth for journalism as a whole is predicted to decline slightly (by 9%) between 2021 and 2031, about 4,900 openings are still projected to become available each year. However, there are also opportunities in several related industries for editors, public relations specialists, film and video editors, and camera operators. Currently, journalism employment is highest in New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia, and the top-paying states are the District of Columbia, New York, Connecticut, Georgia, and New Jersey.

College students working in campus television studio

Virginia Union University

Fields of Journalism (by Medium)

One way to define journalism fields is by the medium. The following fields of journalism require similar reporting and storytelling skills, but disseminate the information differently:

  • Print/Online Journalism: These journalists write articles and blogs for print or online publications, such as newspapers and magazines.
  • Broadcast Journalism: Reporters who share news via television, radio, or online video or audio are broadcast journalists. Print or online journalists may focus more on writing skills, but broadcast journalists may have more technical video and audio production skills.
  • Photojournalism: Photojournalists tell stories through photos. The photos may accompany written stories or stand on their own.
  • Multimedia Journalism: This combines written, broadcast, and photographic journalism to create interactive and engaging stories online.

Types of Journalism Writing and Reporting (by Content)

Types of journalism can also be described based on what related content covers. These are a few traditional types:

  • News Journalism: Journalists in this category report on events from crime to politics on a local or national scale.
  • Feature Journalism: Feature journalists write stories that are generally longer than news stories, allowing for a deeper dive into a topic.
  • Investigative Journalism: Investigative journalists work to uncover corruption and fraud, often in politics or business.
  • Columnists: These are journalists who, among other potential focuses, review or analyze businesses, organizations or politics, and whose work may be featured on TV shows, radio programs, newspapers, and more. Their work is based somewhat more on opinion, but it nonetheless has journalistic elements and is featured on TV shows and radio programs as well as in newspapers.
  • Data Journalism: This is an emerging field that involves finding trends and data that tell a larger story.
  • Subject-Specific Journalism: Some journalists focus on particular subjects, and what they do is sometimes called beat journalism. Some typical beats include sports, business, politics, arts and culture, education, travel, science and the environment, and crime.

Whatever your interest, students who plan to pursue careers in this field will need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in journalism. Such programs include a wide range of related course subjects, such as:

  • Newswriting
  • Ethics
  • Media law
  • Article construction
  • Public affairs reporting
  • Feature writing
  • Magazine journalism
  • TV reporting and editing
  • Specialized journalism
  • Investigative reporting

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer journalism programs? Looking for help with financing this degree? 

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Preparing for Success

A career in journalism may be right for you if you have excellent verbal and written communication skills and have an eye for detail. It definitely helps not to be easily discouraged, as journalists often have to be persistent in order to get key information and ensure that important stories are covered, regardless of the difficulty of doing so. You should also have solid research and organizational skills, logical reasoning abilities, a strong sense of ethics, digital literacy chops, and a love of problem-solving.

In high school, consider joining the yearbook or newspaper club, or the debate team. If you’re interested in working on TV or radio, you may want to volunteer to assist with the morning announcements or any similar programs your school may have. Of course, you should also follow reliable news sources closely and observe the techniques your favorite journalists use to provide superior reporting and coverage.


Headshot of Wiley University female student television reporter

UNCF Schools to Consider

These UNCF-member schools and more offer programs for studies in journalism or mass communication:

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Professional Organizations

There are many organizations in various fields of journalism that can offer more insight into working in these professions. A sample list includes:

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start on your path toward a successful career in journalism than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF, including some specifically for journalism majors. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements. 

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study journalism.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in journalism. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!

You can also show your support for students pursuing careers and furthering equity in journalism by contributing to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society where truth reigns and economic mobility is available to all. Help us achieve this future by donating today!