High School Subjects for Journalism

Journalists inform the world’s citizens about what they need to know.  Some students know early on that they want to become journalists when they get older, and other students realize their interest in journalism later on in life.  The field of journalism is constantly evolving, and professional journalists are fortunate because journalism can be practiced anywhere around the world.  Studying journalism can lead to near limitless career options, such as public relations, broadcast television journalism, broadcast radio journalism, print journalism, photography journalism, and much more.  High school students who have a desire to become journalists should study the following subjects: 

Drama courses

Students who have an interest in broadcast journalism should pursue drama and theatre courses.  In order to capture an audience’s attention, broadcast journalists need strong voices and inflection in their vocal tones when relaying news stories.  Television broadcast journalists also need to use appropriate facial expressions when telling a story.  For example, a reporter who is discussing death and destruction caused by a tornado should not be smiling and speaking chirpily while telling the story because viewers would think the reporter is inappropriate and has no compassion for the seriousness of the situation.  Drama courses help students learn how to speak confidently and creatively express themselves, skills that radio and television broadcast journalists need. 

Language courses

Students who have an interest in journalism should keep in mind that they might be sent on journalism assignments in countries where people speak different languages.  High schools usually offer Spanish, French, Italian and German language courses to students who have an interest in learning other languages.  Learning other languages is especially helpful for journalists who have a passion for traveling to cover international news stories because their interview sources may not speak English. 

History courses

Journalists must have a general to strong knowledge of history because modern news stories very often have connections to the past.  The job of a journalist is to inform and engage the public, and journalists who have little to no knowledge of the past make poor sources of information.  Knowing his or her history helps journalists ask and answer important questions during interviews.  A strong knowledge of history is also very helpful to journalists who are researching information for a story.

English media courses

English media courses offer students the opportunity to practice hands-on media concepts such as writing film reviews, writing articles and various other skills that will be studied in more depth in college and university journalism programs. 

Law courses

Journalism students studying in college and university will be offered media law courses as part of the requirements to get their diplomas or degrees.  High school students should pursue media law, business law and any law courses available to them because journalists can sometimes get sued for slander or libel.  Journalists should be aware of their rights.

Students who have an interest in covering specific journalism beats should study subjects that give them a strong understanding of the beat.  For instance, students who wish to become sports journalists should take physical education courses and human biology.  Students who have an interest in covering fashion journalism should take visual art and marketing classes.  Students who wish to cover political stories should study political science, history and government courses. 

Journalism stories can be about any topic. But not all journalists cover every topic, because they usually have specialization and interest in covering specific areas.  High school students who plan to pursue journalism as a career should lean towards specializing in areas that interest them and that they have a good understanding of.  Journalism is a good career choice for people who enjoy constantly learning on the job while helping to inform people at the same time.