Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journalism Program Offers Speedy Entry into the Workforce

Have you obtained a post-secondary degree or diploma but have become fascinated with getting the facts, interviewing sources and presenting the news? If so, then Centennial College’s fast-track journalism program within its journalism schools can get you into the field in just two years. Not only will you leave with interview skills and knowledge on how to write a story or produce a news segment, you’ll have the know-how to work at magazines, newspapers, TV, radio and even online.

At the essence of journalism is the need to report accurate, unbiased news to the public in an efficient manner. Journalism covers everything from politics and crime to local stories, entertainment, sports and more. It can be broken down into different sections and roles, but all journalists (whether they end up as editors, copy editors, chase producers, online coordinators or something else all together) must know how to tell the story and how to address the: who, what, where, when and why. In the magazine world, stories are written and re-written many times before publishing date, as many magazines are released monthly or quarterly. Meanwhile, at a newspaper, reporters work on deadline for the same day. This means interviewing over the phone, rushing to press conferences and filing by a certain time. Meanwhile, in TV and radio, the writing style is very different. It is more concise and conversational. Lastly, the newest sector of journalism is online reporting, which essentially means breaking stories as they happen and updating as soon as more information is available.

Centennial College’s fast-track journalism program requires applicants to submit an official transcript demonstrating proof of successful completion of a post-secondary diploma or degree program. Also considered will be applicants presenting a combination of partial post-secondary education (minimum of two years) and relevant work experience. In addition, there will be a four-part writing test as well as a portfolio and resume submission.

Once students are accepted, they will learn everything from how to conduct an interview to covering breaking news and exploring human-interest stories. The point of the program is to touch on all niches of the field so that students may discover theirs. This occurs through courses such as: News Reporting (designed to help students develop a basic proficiency level in journalistic reporting and writing techniques), Imagining: Journalism (designed to introduce the basic concepts of photography and imaging and expand on those basics, primarily pertaining to photojournalism); Magazine/Freelance Writing (emphasis is placed on finding market niches, winning assignments and carrying them out professionally); and many others.

Journalism schools find it very important to offer students real life experience so that they are able to handle themselves in a newsroom. One feature of Centennial College’s fast-track journalism program is the development of a portfolio. Students have the opportunity to be published in a real community paper called The East Toronto Observer and its online edition, The Toronto Observer. Once they have had a sample of what to expect from the field, they participate in a final semester placement.

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