We asked Ms. Bullard:
What kind of education is important to go into journalism?
I think one of the good things about journalism is that you can major in practically anything you want and still become a good journalist. You need to learn the discipline of journalistic writing and good judgment. It’s a craft you can learn on the job or in school. It helps to take journalism and communications courses in college, but it’s also helpful to take courses in marketing, because marketing is all about getting your message across. Most journalists are liberal arts majors, but you can major in political science, government, history, English or the sciences if you want to become a reporter with a specialty. It benefits you to have a major and a minor, one in journalism and one in the area in which you specialize. It’s helpful to get practice with a school newspaper. Over the years, TV broadcast has become more popular, and a background in journalism is needed for television broadcast.
What are some early likely jobs in journalism?
As an Editorial Assistant, you work in a newsroom and gather facts for stories, help reporters collect information and help editors get information they need. At this stage, you don’t do a lot of writing, but you get a good background in how stories are developed. A similar position in television broadcast is an Assistant Producer. The assistant helps the producer or reporter on a story. She or he makes phone calls, sets up appointments, arranges interviews and does the research to help reporters. You should be able to land a first job as a full-fledged reporter for a small or mid-sized newspaper, radio station or TV station.
What are some upper level positions to which one could aspire?
The sky is the limit. You could become the head of a multi-national communications company. You could become the publisher of a newspaper, the president of a TV station, run a broadcasting company or develop into an excellent reporter.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Making newspapers and magazines essential to people’s lives is the most challenging aspect. Fewer people are reading newspapers and magazines because people get more information from many different sources. It used to be that people just relied on newspapers. Today people get their information from newspapers, TV, radio, the Internet and more. Now newspaper companies are communications companies. Our job is gathering information and providing it in a way that people want to receive it. The skill that we offer is the ability to find the information, put it in perspective and then deliver it in the manner people want to receive it.
You have power when you write, so you have to be careful what you say.
GIRLS KNOW HOW® thanks Ms. Bullard for telling us about her experience in journalism. Remember, these ideas are just to get you thinking about opportunities, and are based on one successful woman’s experience. If you would like to learn more, do some research in the library, search websites, talk it over with your parents, or ask a teacher or guidance counselor at school.