A job in journalism may be a great option for those of you who dream of breaking news, writing thoughtful magazine articles or traveling the world as a reporter. The landscape of media outlets, organizations and associations has never been more diverse, and there are a number of ways to turn your journalism interests into a career after college.
It's no secret that newsrooms across the country are cutting back, especially as more print and broadcast journalism transitions to online outlets.
However, a natural curiosity for public affairs and a confidence in communication can apply to many different types of professions, from advertising to reporting to public relations – and digital journalism has opened up specialized publishing options never before possible.
As you discover the issues you're most passionate about, consider how these passions align with potential areas of specialization within journalism.
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For example, if you're invested in the intersection of journalism and technology, the AP-Google Scholarship may be the perfect fit for you. The program gives six $20,000 scholarship awards for innovative projects that further the ideals of digital journalism.
Die-hard sports fans should take a look at the Associated Press Sports Editors, which offers four $1,500 scholarships for sports journalism students.
There are a number of organizations that offer scholarship, internship and grant programs to minority students. For example, the NABJ Scholarship from the National Association of Black Journalists offers a $2,500 scholarship award to students interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Applicants must be a NABJ member to apply.
Essay questions are a good way to put your writing abilities to use. The Society of Professional Journalists offers a high school essay contest to answer the question, "Why is it important that we have news media that are independent of the government?" First-, second- and third-place winners receive $1,000, $500 and $300, respectively.
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And if you're a punctuation maven, your editorial skills can pay off with scholarships like the $2,500 Aubespin Award from the American Copy Editors Society Education Fund. Four $1,000 awards are also given out, along with a travel stipend to attend the group's annual conference.
Journalism scholarships aren't just for writers. If you've always been comfortable in front of a camera and can't wait for your time to shine on TV or radio, the Broadcast Education Association administers seven scholarship awards ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 for broadcast journalism students.
If you'd rather be behind the camera, the National Press Photographers Foundation offers undergraduate and graduate scholarship awards to photojournalism students.
Scholarships can be paramount in covering the cost of tuition while in school, and hands-on opportunities like grants and internships can be just as valuable when you're not in classes. For anyone interested in journalism, it's important to chase these firsthand experiences that many future employers will look for.
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For example, the Chips Quinn Scholars Program for Diversity in Journalism provides paid internships nationwide, as well as a one-week college course for credit. Participating in an internship or training experience with news veterans can give your journalism connections and expertise a boost.
Don't forget that journalism or communication departments at colleges and universities offer institution-specific awards and internship programs, too. Take advantage of the unique partnerships that exist at schools, such as the University of Missouri School of Journalism's New York Program.
Finally, remember that awards can be for various grade levels, whether you're a high school student applying to college or a student returning to school to hone your journalism know-how. And finding and applying for scholarship programs will make good use of your reporting skills!
Carissa Chang joined Scholarship America in 2013. She is an alumna of Taylor University and a former scholarship recipient.