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Published On: Sun, Nov 27th, 2016

New Hot Trend: Political Science Graduates as Journalists

The state of journalism today is not very stable. People are questioning those who used to be easily accepted as reliable sources. Opinions are commonly being touted as facts and reported as news. However, there is a new trend in the field that may just save journalism’s reputation. This trend is political science graduates working as journalists.

What Is Political Science?

Political science is a field that focuses on the study of the government and political systems. Students in a program analyze political issues, while also looking into different types of governments and common issues that come up within political systems. Programs are offered in a variety of schools, even online masters in political science programs. A program gives them a rounded education that sets them up for many careers, journalism being one of them.

 Public domain photo/ Than217

Public domain photo/ Than217

How Political Science Works in Journalism

The reason why political science majors easily fit into a journalism role is because they are armed with the knowledge necessary to analyze government and politics in a way journalism or English majors simply are not. These students have a solid understanding of how governments work. They are able to analyze situations and report the facts instead of simply their opinions. In addition, part of their program involves learning to write and communicate ideas clearly. This solid background can help them to develop a loyal following who can trust what they report.

Political science majors can easily unravel the complexities of government to present clear, concise reports that they general public can understand. This has long been an issue for those with just a journalism degree. Government topics are often complex, and without a solid background in the topic, reporters simply are unable to provide reports that make sense and offer accurate information.

With the rise of the internet and social media, fact checking has become something anyone can do, and people are doing it. This isn’t likely to stop. What this means for journalism is that anything reported must be 100 percent accurate. There cannot be any misunderstandings or a media outlet’s reputation could suffer.

Opening the Eyes of Those Who Matter

Of course, simply saying that political science majors would be the best hires for positions that require political reporting does not mean those people in power will actually hire them. Many employers have strict requirements when it comes to degrees. They are looking specifically for those with journalism degrees and won’t hire those who don’t have one.

However, it is possible that a push from the public for more accurate reporting and a hit to ratings or reader subscriptions due to past accuracy issues could force these employers to reconsider their requirements. In fact, some media outlets have already jumped on the political science bandwagon. The Washington Post took over a political science blog in 2013 and various other media outlets now have political science professors or experts on their staffs, working in journalism positions. It may be the wave of the future in order to get people to watch and read more.

While many journalism positions still require a journalism degree, possibilities may be opening up for political science majors. Knowing that the people want media that is more reliable and trustworthy is driving those in power to pay more attention to the qualifications of who they hire. It is no longer enough to be able to write well. Journalists have to know the topic they are reporting on or someone will catch every mistake they make.

Author: Lolita Di

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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