AB in Journalism in the Philippines

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (AB in Journalism) is a four year degree program that deals with the concepts, theories and principles of news writing, feature writing, editing, copy reading and advertising. It helps students to develop journalistic and reporting skills. Students are also oriented on the responsibilities and obligations of working in the press industry.

The AB in Journalism program equips students with the necessary skills to be able to perform editing, design and production to all media platforms. It also provides a better understanding on producing opinion, interpretative and analysis pieces for media platforms.

Subjects and Curriculum


The subjects in the AB in Journalism curriculum are divided into four main categories:
  • General Education Courses
    Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Core Courses
    Introduction to Communication, Introduction to Communication Theory, Introduction to Communication Research, Communication and Society, Thesis or Special Project, Internship
  • Required Courses
    Journalism Principles and Practices, News Writing, Feature Writing, Newspaper Editing and Design, Broadcast Journalism, Editorial Management, Media Law and Ethics, Research in Journalism, Investigative Journalism, Photojournalism, Online Journalism
  • Electives
    The Community Press, Business and Economics Reporting, Science Reporting, Environmental Reporting, Reporting the Arts and Culture, Sports Writing, Technical Writing, Special Problems in Journalism, Opinion and Commentary, Magazine Publishing
The AB Journalism program is taught to students through classroom lectures, educational talks and seminars. Students also visit different press and publication companies where they are able to first handedly observe what goes on in the actual work place.

Other major requirements for this program include the completion of a thesis paper / special project and an internship. The thesis paper / special project must be completed during the last semester of the fourth year while the internship is done during the summer of the third year.

Is Journalism a profession?


Journalism is generally considered a profession, however you do not formally need a Journalism degree to work in the media industry, and no special license is required. In practice, getting a job in the media industry will be much easier if you hold a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

What are the admission requirements for the AB in Journalism program?


Requirements at each school may differ, but most likely only the standard college entry requirements apply:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?


  • Excellent written/oral English and a concise writing style – since the program is all about writing and reporting different types of stories whether formal or informal, a fundamental skill in writing is essential as well as an excellent grasp of the English language.
  • Research skills – in the entire four years, most especially in your internship you will be exposed to unknown waters, difficult topics may be assigned to you which will require research, traditionally or through the web.
  • Interpersonal skills – the program will give you the chance to interview different people and become a correspondent in different news stories therefore it’s important that you have the ability to talk with other people and gain their trust which in turn gets you insight and information.
  • Inquisitiveness – the desire to discover new things and investigate existing information.
  • Self-confidence – reporting, interviewing and writing are all part of the AB in Journalism program, to do these you must have the self-confidence to these tasks efficiently.
  • Logical skills – writing a lot of articles means that you have to write a material which is concise and logically understandable, you must be able to gather your thoughts and arrange them into readable and substantial material
  • Good general and current affairs knowledge – studying journalism means that you are up to date with current events and news, you are not only a person who will write them but you must be a person who loves to know about important happenings
  • Reading Comprehension – understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Analytical skills – the ability to solve complex problems and make decisions that are sensible and based on available information.
  • Technical skills – aside from the writing aspect of this course, there are also a lot of technical things that you must learn like digital journalism, filming and recording and multimedia journalism so you must be a technically inclined person to do this.
  • Active Listening – this course will test your interviewing and reporting skills, to be able to such tasks efficiently one must have the ability to listen carefully, ask pertinent questions and retain verbally transmitted information
  • Quick Thinking – most often during the course of your study you will be required to write with authority on unfamiliar subjects therefore quick thinking is very important

How difficult is AB in Journalism?


AB in Journalism is a moderately difficult course. Most students perceive the course as easy because majority of them associate it with the glamorous work in the media; the likes of broadcasters, media and radio men and women who report on current events. However, there is more to this course than what meets the eye. It involves a lot of writing which requires a high level of intellectual ability. Journalism is not only writing about your opinions and perspective on certain things, most often it is factual, based on credible data and research. This is the part where students find the course difficult. Aside from the immense writing requirements, the program is also highly technical. Students who are not technically inclined and do not have ample computer knowledge will find the course extremely difficult. In addition to all these, it is also one of the few Bachelor of Arts courses that requires an internship.

Although AB in Journalism can be difficult, students also describe the program as fun and interesting. Unlike other courses, the classroom lectures for this course are interactive and engaging since you will be doing a lot of roles plays and practice exercises for reporting and interviewing. Lastly, not all subjects are hard, there are those which can be understood easily over repeated readings.

How long does it take to complete the AB in Journalism program in the Philippines?


The AB in Journalism program takes four years to complete. The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

Internship


Students of the AB in Journalism program spent the summer of the third year doing an internship. They will be assigned in different companies and organizations within the press and media industry including local newspaper organizations, magazine companies, online publications, public relations/advertising firms, television networks, radio companies, etc. During their internship, you will be given the chance to apply your knowledge and practice your skills in actual settings doing professional journalist tasks.

The internship program is done under the supervision of a designated authority in the establishment/office which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member.

The number of hours required for the internship is 200 hours.(See source)

Career opportunities for AB in Journalism graduates


  • Entry / Mid Level jobs

    • Media researchers – work in different sectors of the media industry, including television, radio, film and the web. They plan, arrange and execute the production of programs and other output in its various forms
    • Reporters – collects and analyzes information about newsworthy events to write news stories for publication or broadcast: Receives assignment or evaluates news leads and news tips to develop story idea.
    • Feature/Magazine Writer – responsible for the content and quality of their publication and ensures that stories are engaging and informative.
    • Layout artist – a graphic design professional responsible for the structure and layout of elements in printed media, such as magazines, brochures, posters and fliers.
    • Broadcast assistants – provide practical assistance to radio or television producers to ensure that a broadcast runs smoothly. They perform key administrative tasks as well as assist in the planning, research and production of live and pre-recorded radio and television programs.
    • Creative writers – produce novels, short stories, essays, magazine articles, production scripts and other literary works.
    • Sports writer – journalists who specialize in delivering articles on athletic events.
    • Medical writers – responsible for creating medical documents that provide accurate details about medical information and products.
    • Travel writers – responsible for bringing tourist destinations to life by describing their sights and sounds in accurate and compelling detail. Travel writers typically work as freelancers, although they might be employed by a travel agency.
    • Search engine optimization (SEO) content writer – responsible for creating content for a website or blog that optimizes the client’s results in search engines. They may prepare dialogue, articles, databases or other text for the blog or website. SEO content writers may be employed by internet service companies, work as freelancers, or be employed as dedicated in-house writing staff.
    • Photojournalists – focus on illustrating current events and daily news. Most photojournalists work for newspapers, magazines, television stations or websites in staff or freelance positions.
    • Editorial assistant – support senior editorial staff in the administration of the commissioning, planning and production of publications.
    • Business writer – prepare reports, such as sales proposals, for a business development department.
    • Public Relations Assistant – responsible for assisting with the creation and implementation of public relations initiatives. Concepts and creates promotional content for PR purposes.
    • Advertising Assistant – entry-level employees who support the job functions and administration of an advertising agency or media firm, including the account planning, research, production, sales, media, or creative departments.
    • Broadcast journalists – responsible for gathering and reporting news related to current affairs. They are expected to present this information in a balanced and objective fashion through factual radio, online and television news programs, as well as documentaries.
    • Copy editors – responsible for ensuring that text is accurate and grammatically correct prior to publication. Copy editors may work on such publications as newspapers, books, magazines and others.
    • Court reporters – document transcripts pertaining to conversations, speeches or any presentations in a court of law. These written records are required for correspondence as records and legal proofs.
    • Financial journalists – responsible for collecting and analyzing information concerning newsworthy events within the world of finance and commerce.
    • Political reporters – responsible for gathering information surrounding current events in government and politics in order to write reports for news programs.
    • Music journalists – write articles pertaining to the music industry for newspapers, magazines, journals and websites. They report on the latest developments in the music industry and write album and gig reviews.
    • Biographers – responsible for creating written summaries of a person’s life. They must compose a compelling and accurate account of an individual’s life, which outlines specific elements of that individual’s life.
  • Advanced Positions

    Require years of extensive experience and practice:
    • Media relations specialist – responsible for overseeing communications to the media, including preparing articles, press kits, press releases, and other content initiatives. Cultivates and manages relationships with media reps.
    • Publisher – responsible for overseeing the selection, production, marketing and distribution processes involved with new works of writing.
    • Editor – provides leadership and direction to their team of editors and writers. They are responsible for developing article content strategy and overseeing the creation collection of news stories.
    • PR Consultant – communications specialist that works as an intermediary between the public and an organization or business.
    • Foreign correspondents – journalists who are stationed in a foreign country to report on economic, political, environmental or social developments or events within that country.
    • Columnists – responsible for producing written material for a regular column in a newspaper. Columnists share information of public interest as well as their personal opinions with their readers. Columnists often focus on a specialty such as sports, politics, health, fashion and others.
    • Broadcaster – responsible for entertaining and informing radio, internet and television audiences by presenting information in an accessible and attractive way. They are the public voice or face of the programs that are broadcast on the internet, television or radio.
    • Campaign manager – responsible for coordinating the actions of a political campaign such as fundraising, advertising, polling and direct contact with the public.
    • Film critics – view films in order to produce opinion based reviews. Once film critics have composed a review of a film, they communicate it via radio, television, newspapers, magazines, websites or books.
    • Television news anchors – evaluate news leads in order to find those that will create informative and compelling stories.
    • Book critics – read and review books in order to provide opinions regarding the quality of work for consumers and other interested parties.

Reviews of AB in Journalism graduates:

N. M.
Studied AB in Journalism
at University of the Philippines Diliman , Quezon City
Graduated: 2008

About my college education:
It was definitely interesting and challenging. It was interesting because I got to learn a lot of things that I would never have learned if I decided to study in the province, and it's not just about journalism or writing. I learned a lot about people, places and our culture, because that's what we had to cover for our writing assignments, and for me to be able to write a good article, I had to immerse myself in the topic. It was challenging, yes, because I had never done any of the things I had to do back then (such as talk to strangers, tread on the garbage hills of Payatas, go to Tondo), but I wouldn't really consider it difficult because it's not difficult when you're having fun doing things.

English skills are definitely needed to succeed in Journalism, but we don't only use English in writing our articles. Our professors also encouraged us to write in Filipino because most of us were more versed in English than in our own language. Apart from language skills, you have to be really good with people because you will be dealing with them a lot. You'll be dealing with them when you go out to interview and do research, when you write your articles with a partner and when you have your article critiqued by your classmates and professors. You have to be tough-skinned for this. Not everybody can stay cool and collected when everyone tears apart what she had just poured blood, sweat and tears over to write and revise.

I wouldn't say logical skills are not needed in Journalism, but I think the ability to relate with people and put down words to paper are the two biggest skills you need to have to succeed in this course.

My current job:
I'm an Internet marketer and an e-book writer.

Am I using what I learned in college:
Yes, definitely. Everything I learned about gathering information, thinking critically and writing well I am able to apply in my career as a marketer and a writer.

How long did it take to find a job after graduation:
I was already working as a managing editor for a Web content production company in Manila during my last semester of college. That was my first job related to my writing skills. In my second and third years, I also worked as an academic tutor for Filipino high school and elementary students.

Do I recommend studying AB in Journalism:
If you want to become a professional writer, I would recommend BA Journalism. Of course, there is also a Creative Writing course and a Malikhaing Pagsusulat course in UP, but I had one of my Creative Writing professors tell me that most of the best creative writers are Journalism students because we have a better hold on reality than the Creative Writing students.

When it comes to employment opportunities, there are a lot of employers out there looking for fresh grad journalists as well as other kinds of writers. I personally don't want to become a "real" journalist in the Philippines, though. By "real", I mean one who writes for a print newspaper or a magazine. That's because this country, especially my province, isn't very safe for journalists and I see myself as definitely one of the hard-hitting types if I went into print. I don't want to get myself killed.

But there are definitely other branches of journalism or communication that you can go into. I don't think we're limited to opportunities in traditional journalism. I, for example, opted to go online after I had so much fun during our online journalism class. I now write for a website about Internet marketing and I'm learning so much about it that I'm thinking of putting up my own Internet marketing venture very soon.

As for the salary level, I can only say that I'm very satisfied with my salary. Because I work at home and I live in the province where everything is cheaper and the air is cleaner, my monthly salary (payment, actually, because I freelance) is more than enough to buy me and my family our needs, my wants and have a huge chunk left over for my savings.
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