Are you interested in becoming a journalist? In this guide, we’ve provided an overview of the best journalism courses & certifications, as well as the best books on journalism to help you get started.
In the modern world, perhaps no field is as important to the freedom of individuals as is journalism. Journalism carries with it the weight to not only deliver important stories to the populace, but to do so in a truthful and easy-to-understand manner.
And, with the rise of online media and a never-ending stream of information, it has never been more important than it is now to have credible journalists reporting the news.
If you’re looking to break into a career in journalism and you’re unsure of where to start, we have provided a list of five of the best online journalism courses currently available, as well as four excellent books on the topic.
Best Journalism Courses
1. Become a Journalist: Report the News!(Coursera)
School: Michigan State
If you’re looking for a comprehensive group of courses that will help launch your career as a journalist, then perhaps no journalism certification course is better than the Become a Journalist: Report the News! specialization offered by Michigan State University through Coursera
This specialization consists on five different sub-courses: What is news?, Gathering and Developing the News, Effectively delivering the news to your audience, Journalism, the future, and you!, and the Capstone course, Create your own professional journalistic portfolio.
This online specialization course is taught by a host of journalism professors and is an ideal option for serious journalism students to start.
- This specialization consists of five different courses
- Covers journalism, writing, gathering/finding sources, and creating your journalistic portfolio
- The specialization will take about 7-months to complete at the suggested 3-hours of study per week
- The specialization comes with a certification of completion
2. English for Journalists, Part 1 (edX)
School: UC Berkeley
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If you’re looking for a great introductory course to journalism, then English for Journalists, Part 1 is a great place to start. The course is offered through the University of Berkeley on edX and is taught by Maggie Sokolik, the Director of College Writing Programs at UC Berkeley.
The course is free to take, but you can also pay $139 to add a verified certification of completion that you can use on your resume. In total, edX estimated that you’ll need to spend about 5 weeks (at about 3-4 hours per week) in order to complete this course.
- Gain an understanding of current issues facing journalists
- Focuses on improving your English vocabulary and grammar
- Will help you write more effective stories from a journalistic point-of-view
- Can be taken for free, or, for $139 you can get a certification of completion
3. English for Journalism (Coursera)
If you’re a non-native English speaker, another worthy option to learn about journalism is English for Journalism offered by the University of Pennsylvania through Coursera. This course takes non-native English speaking students through all aspects of journalism.
So, not only does the course focus on the main principles of journalism, (i.e, the principles of journalism, how to research and interview, writing & broadcasting, etc.) it does so in a way that will help non-native speakers overcome the barriers they may have breaking into a journalism career.
In total, the course consists of five different units and Coursera estimates that it will take approximately 27-hours to complete. And, like with all Coursera courses, you can take the course for free, or you can pay $49/month (until course completion) and earn a certification of completion.
- Geared towards non-native English speakers who want to pursue a career in journalism
- The course consists of five different sections
- Covers a wide range of topics, such as journalistic integrity, researching stories, and broadcasting the new
- The course can be taken for free or you can gain a certification of completion by paying $49
4. Dan Rather on Journalism & Finding the Truth in the News (Udemy)
If you want to learn journalism from a legend in the industry, then you might want to check out Dan Rather on Journalism & Finding the Truth in the News. The course is taught by Dan Rather and is available on Udemy for just $12.99.
In the course, you’ll learn how to tell compelling stories, get your message across to your audience, understand the importance of the freedom of the press, and much more.
In total the course consists of 4-hours of on-demand video and six downloadable resources. All Udemy courses come with certifications on completion, so completing this course wil allow you to give your resume a boost.
- The course is taught by legendary news anchor, Dan Rather
- Covers everything from analyzing current news topics to telling stories people want/need to hear
- Consists of 4 hours of on-demand video content
5. How to be a Journalist – The Complete Guide to Journalism (Udemy)
Another journalism course on Udemy that is worth considering is Tony Bosworth’s How to be a Journalist – The Complete Guide to Journalism. Over 1,200 students have enrolled in Bosworth’s course and it has received mostly good reviews.
The course consists of 2.5-hours on video content and provides a solid introduction to the world of journalism. In this course, you’ll learn things like, how to build your story, how to maintain accuracy in your reporting, landing interviews and getting the most out of them, and many other important topics.
- A great introductory course to help you get started in journalism
- Comes with a certificate upon completion of the course
- Consists of 2.5-hours of video content
Best Journalism Books
If you want a book that will cover the principles of journalism as they pertain to the 21st century, then The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel is worth picking up.
The book covers what modern journalism is, what problems journalism faces, and why journalism is so important. Ultimately, if you’re an aspiring journalist, this book is probably the best place to start.
If you’re considering a career in reporting via radio or podcast, Jonathan Kern and NPR have pout together an excellent guide on the subject in Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production.
In the book, Kern teaches you the importance of writing the way you speak, and offers advice on topics like proposing stories and maintaining balance and objectivity in your reporting.
If you’re looking for a book to help you improve your writing, there are many great options out there. We’ve highlighted two options: On Writing Well (below) and, here, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E.B. White.
The Elements of Style is in its fourth edition and is as useful of a writing guide for beginners now as it was when it was first released over 100 years ago.
Another excellent option for prospective journalists who are looking to improve their writing is On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser.
Like The Elements of Style, On Writing Well is a classic that preaches writing clearly and concisely. And, many regard it as necessary reading for anyone who wants to become a writer, or anyone that is required to write on a regular basis.
If you’re looking to start a career in journalism and you’re not sure where to start, in this guide, we’ve covered five different journalism courses and certifications you can take and four different books you can read to help you get started.