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«Revised and expanded 6th edition Copyright © 2003 American Political Science Association All rights reserved. For noncommercial use only. No part of ...»

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Because of the range of private nonprofit groups, international businesses, banking and financial institutions, international organizations, and governmental agencies, it is difficult to make generalizations about the job placement process. Nonetheless, there are strategies for locating a job. It is important to contact your college placement office early in your senior year or as you enter the last year of a graduate program. A student interested in the business world should become informed about the standard practice that brings dozens of recruiters from banking and other industries to conduct on-campus interviews.

You may learn about opportunities in the American Federal Government by checking the web sites of the Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, and Treasury; the International Trade Commission; the Central Intelligence Agency, etc.

Careers in Political Science (See the chapter on “The Federal Government.”) In addition, you should look into the economic development programs of state and local governments in the United States, especially those programs that are designed to attract investors from abroad or to open up foreign markets to local product exports. Local and national Chambers of Commerce are good starting points.

An interested student can consult the most recent issue of Fortune Magazine’s “Fortune 500” for a list of large multinational businesses. In particular, for U.S.

companies, examine the proportion of sales or profits registered overseas. Anything approaching 20 percent may indicate that they are companies in need of persons who can help them operate in foreign environments. In the case of foreign corporations, you should learn if they have branches in the United States. For those businesses, it is the United States that represents a foreign environment whose nuances they must learn.

In brief, here are some additional web sites that might be useful in your job


Strategies for finding jobs with NGOs http://caster.ssw.upenn.edu/ %7Erestes/isw/chapter52.html Finding an overseas jobs www.overseasjobs.com Jobs in Europe through JobPilot www.jobpilot.net International Jobs Center www.internationaljobs.org Monster.com Work Abroad http://workabroad.monster.com Foreign Policy Association jobs list www.fpa.org.

In addition, communities of Americans in the location in which you would like to work may be excellent resources. Using any search engine on the web, you may find many “listservs” and web sites particular to a given region of the world—such as NISJobs http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nisjobs for jobs in the former Soviet sphere.


Newspaper writer/editor/columnist; executive producer, local television news; producer, science news, PBS; director of corporate public affairs; editor, online political journal; freelance writer; information manager, corporate planning department; television reporter; press officer, U.S. Embassy; public affairs research analyst; publisher; research director, advertising firm;

television network director of surveys; corporate information manager; trade association newsletter editor; web content writer; webzine reporter.


Today’s “global village” has an insatiable appetite for news. Good stories on every aspect of human behavior will always find audiences. A modern journalist has a challenging job and awesome responsibility: What a journalist reports defines the environment of a large number of people, and the way journalists analyze what they report shapes our understanding of the world.

There are many different types of media in which you could work, ranging from radio and network television to cable TV and the Internet. Each has its own challenges and rewards. Careers in media generally involve a lot of uncertainty and moving among “markets.” You go where the jobs are and get your foot in the door.

For example, in network television (usually local affiliates), you start as an intern in a small market and gradually move up into a full-time job and larger market. The same is true in radio, but to a lesser extent. The Internet does not usually require as much moving around, but still offers numerous opportunities, although some of them are short lived. A note of caution: the ethic in journalism is one of “paying your dues”; in other words, you should expect to start in a small market, and entry-level salaries are quite low.

Careers in Political Science


A political science major gives you the substantive and analytical expertise necessary for a career in journalism. Seasoned journalists claim that employers value a liberal arts education with a major in the humanities or a social science discipline and that a political science major prepares a journalist to cover public affairs, politics, political institutions, and more. Typically, political science courses place heavy emphasis on developing fluid, clear writing and speaking skills. Journalistic requirements include a bachelor’s degree in a discipline that develops appropriate skills, or a graduate degree in journalism. If you are interested in international journalism—either working for the international portions of American media or for a foreign media company—a degree in international affairs at the undergraduate or master’s level may be quite useful.

The basis of good reporting lies in the ability to write, the ability to comprehend the significance of events, and the ability to express that comprehension quickly and clearly. The ability to write is somewhat intuitive, but the basics of good writing may be taught, and training will improve anyone’s writing. Comprehension of events often requires broad contextual knowledge, and the ability to translate into words a mind’s-eye picture of what has happened is a learned skill. Political science programs provide context, writing practice, and analytical skills.

If you seek to hone your writing skills, you should first turn to basic courses in the English department, but other departments as well may offer courses that emphasize written work; it pays to seek out such classes and take advantage of opportunities to write essays and papers. Many colleges and universities offer writing workshops on campus or through continuing education. In addition, community centers and some for-profit centers offer writing and editing workshops. Completion of such a workshop, either collegiate or commercial, adds to your credentials. And of course, basic reporting courses offered by journalism departments will build up a student’s abilities in journalistic writing.

A good journalist understands the context of events and has a broad familiarity with both history and current events. Understanding contemporary society requires a broad liberal arts education with an emphasis on courses in political science, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and even philosophy. Within the field of political science, a student interested in journalism might focus on classes that address domestic affairs, such as American national, state, and local government; public administration; public finance; and campaigns and elections. Conversely, you might place more emphasis on foreign affairs with courses in comparative governments and international politics.

College newspapers offer opportunities to obtain practical journalistic experience, which you should not overlook. Similarly, local daily newspapers, when Journalism reporting campus news, often use student “stringers,” who are paid on a per-story basis. For a student-reporter seeking a quick and realistic education in newspaper writing, working part-time with professionals may be an excellent learning experience as well as a source of income. Some webzines and reporting-based web sites also take freelance or contract work. All of these opportunities allow you to build skills and a portfolio of your work.

Students seeking jobs in broadcast journalism need to focus their education in the same way as those interested in the written word. They also need to learn how to operate radio and television equipment and to edit audio or videotape packages.

Many universities have broadcast journalism programs that teach these technologies.

Local community and continuing education centers may also offer courses on editing.

Experience with college radio or television stations is valuable preparation for a broadcast career. Often these facilities have excellent equipment and provide handson training. Working in an actual station enables a student to obtain a clear understanding of the specific assignments associated with broadcast journalism and the production of programs in news and public affairs.

If you are interested in web-based work, your best bet may be to volunteer on campus at one of the numerous offices that have web sites. It could be your department, the dean’s office, the alumni office, or any other organization that needs help with content, editing, layout, and so on. Take classes or campus workshops on HTML, XML, Java, and other programming languages. You may also want to consider learning Adobe Photoshop and other such programs, as graphics skills are important.

Practical experience is vital if you want a job in journalism. Internships and freelance work are important ways of gaining experience and often may lead to a job offer. Volunteer to create and maintain a web site for a local nonprofit group so you can point to experience in this area. Submit freelance articles to community newspapers, work on public access cable channels, write a newsletter for your community or a local politician, write an op-ed piece for your school newspaper, or volunteer to write a column on a favorite hobby for a magazine or webzine. All of these activities will help you document your skills and abilities. You should create a portfolio of your work with clips, tapes, web sites, and so on to chronicle your experiences and skills.

To find an internship, check with human resources and community affairs departments of stations, magazines, newspapers, and businesses who do publishing of any kind. Ask friends and colleagues. Ask your professors for referrals. Check with your alumni association to see if any alums work in your chosen field and contact them.

In addition, if you are interested in becoming a foreign correspondent, language skills are very useful, although they are not usually a prerequisite for the job. Job candidates with foreign language training may easily differentiate themselves from the competition, and these skills, especially when coupled with cultural knowledge, are extremely useful to a journalist.

Careers in Political Science


Those who succeed are able to keep The job market in journalism today is tight and their eyes open for highly competitive. That being said, it has been opportunities and tight for years, yet people find new jobs all the are prepared to time. Those who succeed are able to keep their take risks. eyes open for opportunities and are prepared to take risks.

As we begin the twenty-first century, opportunities in Internet-based journalism are expanding. Campaign web sites and webzines need journalists with political and government backgrounds. However, as quickly as some sites go online, others disappear. Stable jobs in online journalism are most often found with the web sites of large, established media, such as CNN and major U.S. newspapers. Recently, those same organizations have cut staff in nonweb-based departments. Meanwhile, new jobs have become available at CNN’s main competitors, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel. Mergers or other economic restructuring, as well as technological changes, may affect news organizations in the future and, thus, have an impact on hiring trends. Cable television channels such as Court-TV (legal), CNBC (financial), and C-SPAN (government) offer programming with a narrower focus. Working at a niche news channel may provide a natural fit for a political science graduate. Several well-respected hard copy publications, such as Congressional Quarterly and National Journal, cover government and also have web sites that employ writers with political knowledge. Trade associations, lobbying organizations, and nonprofit groups need writers and editors for newsletters and other publications.


Finding a job in the field of journalism is often a matter of ingenuity and persistence.

State press associations and journalism departments provide assistance in placing college graduates in the profession. It is sometimes equally effective to seek employment personally by requesting an interview with the human resources department of the publication or station. You might also want to schedule an informational interview with a local editor or producer.

It also helps to start small. Beginning a career with a small or moderate-sized station or newspaper in a small or middle-sized community provides good experience and excellent opportunities for advancement or movement to other publications or stations. At stations and papers of modest size, every employee is expected to do almost every job and every employee is given almost every type of opportunity.

Thus, smaller news organizations are excellent training grounds.

Journalism As well, a student interested in journalism should spend at least a summer or a semester working as an intern. These three-month stints, although they pay far less than many summer jobs (if they are paid at all), are more educationally and professionally rewarding. Internships may lead to one’s first entry-level position, and often it is with that same newspaper or radio or television station where the student has interned. Information about such programs is generally available from campus journalism departments and career placement offices.

Also, newspapers and press associations conduct summer workshops designed to introduce students to careers in journalism. Participation in a workshop may provide you with insight into the profession, as well as contacts that may be useful in landing internships or even a first job.

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