The newspaper may no longer rule the morning kitchen table the way it used to in the 20th century, but the role of the journalist is perhaps more important in the 21st century than it ever has been. We now live in an age of information, and journalists are an integral part of that, not just for reporting the news, but telling the story in a way that people understand, explaining why it matters. News—and the journalists behind it—haven’t become any less important in the Internet era, they’ve simply changed the way people access the information.
Some would argue that with social media like Twitter and Facebook, the most important aspect of news reporting—how quickly a story breaks—has been effectively taken over by people who are the heart of an event. But speedy reporting is just one aspect of journalism. A story must be understood. Readers must know what is happening, how it is happening, and why it matters. That requires investigation and professionalism, and the higher standards of journalism ensure that when people read or watch professionally composed news stories, they get a higher quality of presentation and understanding from the experience.
That is what journalism brings to news reporting, and it is now easier than ever for people with a passion for news to take part. Whether it’s for a traditional news outlet or the growing Internet organizations, it’s now possible to study journalism online. Journalism is more than just investigation and good grammar, there are ethics involved, long established, detailed procedures for digging down to the truth of a story or event.
By choosing to pursue an online journalism degree, you combine the tried and true techniques of established journalism in the learning environment of the 21st century. The online world will continue to grow in importance, and journalism will become a part of that. An online degree is just one more way to see how journalism itself benefits from custom content that is arranged around the needs of the user, allowing people to learn and evaluate concepts at their own pace.
There may come a day when the newspaper or nightly news program as we understand it now is put to rest. But the need for people to understand the events in the world around them will never go away. An online journalism degree allows you to be a part of that process on your own terms. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of the news process rather than just a part of the audience, then studying journalism online may be just for you.