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Journalism vs. Communication: Choosing Your Path in 2024

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Are you torn between the power of the pen and the art of strategic messaging? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Both Journalism and Communications offer you a fascinating and dynamic journey into the world of information sharing, with each demanding a very unique skill set.

What is the role of a journalist?

A functioning media is an important aspect of a modern democracy, as journalists act as a check on power and work to keep the public informed about their rights, roles and responsibilities. Journalism as a career is primarily concerned with finding and communicating the truth through gathering, assessing, writing and reporting information through various media. Your work will be published in newspapers, on TV or online to help keep the public informed on all news and current events.

Journalists are tasked with researching and reporting on current events, politics, business, sports, and other issues of public concern. As a journalist, you must be capable of writing simply and concisely, conducting interviews, and researching and verifying material as your job is to communicate complex information to a wide audience. As such, the following skills are critical for anyone interested in this potential path:

  • Writing 
  • Production 
  • Research 
  • Critical Thinking
  • Story-Telling 
  • Time Management
  • Resilience 

Smart alternatives to a journalism degree

Journalism is a very specific career path that can lead to many exciting opportunities, but you 

may not want to limit yourself to a specific career just yet. We have 3 smart alternatives to a journalism degree that will help you define your career goals while keeping your options open. 

  1. Bachelor of Media and Communication – Media Studies
    This degree will equip you with the skills to create engaging cross-platform content, manage social media accounts, produce digital media projects and write for print, broadcast and digital media. At Swinburne Online, the course is presented by industry professionals who incorporate their knowledge and experience into every lesson.
  2. Bachelor of Media and Communication – Advertising
    Placing a special focus on digital advertising, gain the tools to excel in digital and traditional copywriting, online advertising trends, planning online and traditional campaigns, and communication strategy. Advertising majors will graduate being well versed in the art of persuasion, ready to effectively market products convincingly and excitingly.
  3. Bachelor of Media and Communication – Public Relations
    Learn how to effectively influence and manage public perception and communicate with target audiences using engaging content, targeted messaging and strategic campaigns. You will learn to master skills such as professional communication, writing and campaign events planning, equipping you to work in a variety of public and private industries. 

Journalism has consistently proved itself as one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. With the advancement of technology, there has been an increased demand for information as people prioritise news from sources they trust and consider unbiased. This has created a thriving market for journalists, allowing more people entry to the industry in a bid to make a name for themselves. 

Media and news companies are always on the hunt for journalists and this is evident by there being 271 job opportunities currently available in Australia. The typical salary for a journalist in Australia is $70,000 per annum based on area and experience.

Seek has projected a 7.1% job growth in the next 5 years, a major indicator that you will be joining an industry that is not saturated and still possesses growth opportunities years down the line. 

Becoming a Communications Specialist 

Communications specialists, as the name suggests, will see you writing, speaking and presenting ideas and thoughts. This, in a nutshell, means that you must master skills such as writing, and public speaking and overall, be a master of interpersonal communication. Your job is to build relationships with different audiences and convey your company’s ideas in a manner that is effective and concise.

Professionals in this field often work closely with marketing teams to develop and implement strategies that help organisations achieve their goals. As a communications specialist, you will need to be able to communicate, effectively changing your approach as you deal with different audiences. This could include internal audiences such as employees, present customers and shareholders, or external audiences such as the general public or prospective investors and customers. 

Communication specialists often work in industries such as public relations, media or promotions. 

Communication Skills You Will Need 

Communications specialist skills are the qualities that communication professionals employ to conceive, develop, and implement a communications strategy, as well as handle any press-related activities. Specialists in the communications industry frequently combine hard and soft skills to perform their changing responsibilities, such as the below:

  • Copywriting
  • Proof-Reading 
  • Public Relations 
  • Project Management 
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Public Speaking 
  • Problem-Solving

Getting Qualified With a Bachelor of Media and Communications

Swinburne Online offers three majors that complement the media and communications discipline. The degree with the most focus on a career in communications would be our Bachelor of Media and Communication – Public Relations. Still trying to figure out what it all entails? Let’s have a closer look. 

The Bachelor of Media and Communications, majoring in Public Relations, has been carefully curated to help you hone the art of persuasion to protect, enhance and build an organisation or individual’s reputation. Graduates work in a range of rewarding roles as the course prioritises practical theory and experience, ensuring you begin your career with the requisite expertise. As a bonus, this degree offers students work-integration learning opportunities and is professionally accredited by the Public Relations Institute of Australia, ensuring that all our graduates are a step ahead of the curve.

The course consists of 24 units, 11 of which will be elective units and 1 of which is a project-based unit, helping you to put your theoretical knowledge into practice. Swinburn Online remains committed to being flexible to fit around your study needs and as a result, you can either fast-track your degree or study part-time. 

Career Outlook for Australian Communication Specialists

The communications sector is an important aspect of economic and social activity, that has always been at the forefront of business developments. The introduction of communications technologies has changed business models and shot this sector to the forefront of business dealings. Now more than ever, public perception, public communication and transparency take precedence over company legacy. In this regard, communications remain a vital part of the performance of a company, working from the inside out to ensure good public relations.  

At present, Seek reports that there are around 151 job opportunities around Australia, with an average salary of $110K per year, (it is important to remember that this figure can change depending on territory and your experience as an applicant). 

One major positive of the report provided by Seek is that this industry boasts a job satisfaction rating of 4.8 stars out of 5, with reviews characterised by the sentiment of “Tough, but rewarding.” Fulfilment in your job is an important factor in whether or not your career flourishes. Job satisfaction fuels employees’ drive, productiveness and growth even though they might face challenges that push them to master their skill sets.

The Next Step in Your Career 

To wrap it all up, both journalism and communications are integral parts of modern society with journalism serving as a pillar of democracy and communications playing a vital role in business dynamics. Both careers thrive off the communication of important information and require you to have good interpersonal communication skills. Both careers brim with opportunities for growth and pursuing a Bachelor of Media and Communications will set you up with a versatile foundation, paving the way for a successful career in either industry. 

Both fields offer an exciting and dynamic future, but they require different skill sets. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of these careers and match your skill sets to those that are required.

If you are still unsure about your choice, take some time to learn more about our Bachelor of Media and Communication offerings, or chat with one of our dedicated Carer Consultants who are available for consultation over the phone or by video call. 

Ready to begin your journey? Apply now and get the ball rolling on your dream career.