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Degree Overview: Associate of Political Reporter

Majors Overview August 10, 2013

Schools do not usually offer an Associate of Political Reporter degree program; individuals who are interested in a career as a political reporter can enroll in an associate degree program in journalism. Those who complete the program may seek entry level jobs as correspondents or reporters for Internet media outlets, magazines, newspapers and radio and television news stations.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Journalism Degree Program

An associate degree program in journalism teaches students the skills needed in reporting news, such as writing newsworthy articles, conducting interviews, and gathering reliable information. The work is comprised of writing, editing and hands-on reporting and interested students must have self-motivation, creativity and willingness to follow a potential lead. Students enrolled in some programs can transfer credits earned to a four-year bachelor’s degree program in journalism.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria usually require students to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma, though individuals who do not hold a high school diploma are also admitted by some schools. High school students interested in enrolling in the degree program may benefit by taking additional classes or participating in clubs related to political science and writing.

Program Coursework

The program coursework will prepare students to work for almost any type of media outlet, such as the internet, television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. The majority of these programs require students to participate as active staff members in student media organizations, including the student newspaper. Students will also be able to take an independent study class and tailor their learning to their interests, including political reporting. Program course topics may include the following:

•Professional ethics in journalism
•Photojournalism
•Writing opinion pieces
•Writing broadcast news
•Writing features
•Editing
•Multimedia reporting
•News reporting and writing

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

A decrease of six percent in job growth for reporters, correspondents, and news analysts is projected during the period from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). The pessimistic projection is partly owed to the economic issues faced by larger media conglomerates with a consequent reduction in the number of reporter jobs offered. Reporters are likely to find more job openings with smaller media outlets such as local broadcasting agencies, niche magazines and local newspapers. In May 2010, correspondents and reporters took home an average annual salary of $34,530. Those professionals employed in the District of Columbia ($69,570) are reported by the BLS to have earned the highest annual wages, followed by those employed in Georgia ($54,350), with Massachusetts ($60,590) in third place, New Jersey ($61,890) in the fourth and New York ($59,750) in the fifth.

Information on Continuing Education

Students enrolled in associate degree programs in journalism are prepared for employment as reporters; however, most employers prefer applicants who hold bachelor’s degrees in journalism, political science or other related field (BLS). Aspiring political reporters will need to complete additional courses to increase their familiarity with this specific news category. While political reporting techniques are covered in coursework related to some four-year bachelor degree programs, interested students would benefit by completing courses in political science. Students seeking continued education beyond the bachelor’s degree level can seek enrollment in a two-year master’s degree program in journalism or political science.

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