Online Journalism Courses Discover online courses that teach cutting-edge journalism skills

expert contributor
MaryLou
Dr. Mary-Lou Galician also known as “The Original Dr. FUN,”Read full bio

Thanks to the emergence of digital media over the past two decades, traditional journalism—the journalism of radio, newspapers, and television—is moving to the online world to stay relevant. Now the average person can be a citizen journalist as long as they have a smartphone and some news. This guide can help anyone find the courses they need, from the traditionally-trained professional staying on the forefront of new technology to the amateur building a sturdy foundation in interview techniques.

Find the Right Online Journalism Course for You

Of the many journalism courses available online, no two are exactly the same. Finding the right courses can be overwhelming, but the search tool below can help users narrow down their options based on what type of class they’re looking for. It can turn hundreds of results into dozens by searching according to cost, institution, length, and start date.

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What Types of Online Journalism Classes Are Available?

Online courses can give individuals with any kind of journalism experience the opportunity to learn about a new subject like business journalism, a different medium such as podcasts, and new techniques needed to be a successful freelancer or land a steady job in the industry. Someone interested in trying out sports journalism might be best suited for a short informational course, whereas a professional music journalist looking at new opportunities in the job market may want a more formal course. Whether you are looking to explore the field of journalism for the first time or seeking to bolster your portfolio and attract higher-caliber clients, the table below will help you decide what course type is right for you.

Certificate For-credit Informational
Description
Certificate courses frequently cost money (although less than a for-credit program) and include a certificate of completion. Courses are often offered by journalism professionals and focus on specific subtypes of journalism. For-credit courses are typically offered by a college and generally cost more than certificate or informational courses. Classes often involve mentorship from someone established in the field and focus on traditional journalism topics. Informational courses are usually free and self-paced with limited mentorship from the professional offering the course. Classes often teach technical skills for journalists, such as how to edit a podcast or current trends in digital media.
Who takes this type of course?
Professionals already established in the journalism, news or media production field looking to expand their skill set and add new qualifications to their resumes. Students working towards a degree in journalism or a related communications field, whether undergraduate or graduate. Individuals curious about the field, casual hobbyists, and those exploring new topics prior to committing to a more formal class.

10 Best Online Journalism Courses for Students & Professionals

Through online journalism courses, enrollees can learn the ins and outs of social justice journalism, sharpen their video editing skills or brush up on their grammar. Look below for some of today’s top online journalism courses and find classes for beginners, professionals, and writers of all skill levels.

Journalism for Social Change
  • Offered by: UC BerkeleyX
  • Price: Free, optional verified certificate for $49
  • Length: Self-paced
  • Format: Video lectures, submitted assignments, discussion boards
  • Eligible for college credit?:No

This lecture-style course teaches students to propose solutions to social issues through journalism. The course also studies the ethics of journalism by highlighting media coverage of vulnerable children. This course would best serve introductory-level students and those passionate about current social activism.

English for Journalism
  • Offered by: University of Pennsylvania
  • Price: Free, optional verified certificate for $49
  • Length: Five units, self-paced
  • Format: Video lectures, downloadable readings
  • Eligible for college credit?No

English for Journalism is intended to help non-native English speakers develop their media literacy and reporting skills. Students learn the fundamentals of journalism, including the basics of interviewing. This class is most beneficial to non-native English speakers and those who want to improve their English skills.

Journalism Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to News Writing
  • Offered by: Udemy.com
  • Price: $25
  • Length: 26+ hours of video lectures, self-paced
  • Format: Video lectures
  • Eligible for college credit?No

This course intends to teach students the fundamental mechanics of journalism and to provide them with methods they can use to get their work published in major magazines and newspapers. Students looking to break into mainstream media will benefit most from this journalism masterclass.

Mobile Journalism: 100+ Tips to Shoot and Edit Social Videos
  • Offered by: Udemy.com
  • Price: $40
  • Length: 7.5+ hours of video lectures, self-paced
  • Format: video lectures
  • Eligible for college credit?:No

Students enrolled in this course learn how to create and broadcast video using apps and smartphones with emphasis on using videos on social media. Those interested in creating visual media will learn the most from this class, along with students interested in modern online and independent journalism.

Video Journalism Storytelling Technique
  • Offered by: Lynda.com
  • Price: subscription-based website; $19.99/month basic or $29.99/month premium access
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Format: Video lectures
  • Eligible for college credit?:No

Through this course, students learn how to produce videos from the inception of the idea to the final edits, with specific emphasis on how to collaborate with clients. This course is best suited for journalists—professional and amateur alike—looking to improve their video editing and storyboarding skills.

Journalism: How to Write a Killer Magazine Article Pitch
  • Offered by: SkillShare.com
  • Price: Subscription-based website, $9.95/month or $96/year
  • Length: 45 minutes, self-paced
  • Format: Video lectures
  • Eligible for college credit?:No

Students learn how to pitch stories to magazine editors and write engaging article proposals; the emphasis is not on writing articles but rather getting them published. Journalists with a solid background in writing who are looking to find publication opportunities for their work will find this course most beneficial.

Law of Mass Communication (COMM403)
  • Offered by: Pennsylvania State University World Campus
  • Price: $1,600 (2016 tuition rates)
  • Length: 16 weeks
  • Format: Textbook readings, exams, submitted work
  • Eligible for college credit?:Yes

With special emphasis on the First Amendment, this course studies the legal protections and responsibilities of journalists as well as the difference between the laws and the ethics of journalism. This course will best serve those seeking careers in professional journalism who need to know their rights.

Gender, Diversity, and the Media (COMM205)
  • Offered by: Pennsylvania State University World Campus
  • Price: $1,600 (2016 tuition rates)
  • Length: 16 weeks
  • Format: PDF downloads, films, quizzes, submitted work
  • Eligible for college credit?:Yes

Enrollees study diversity in media and its implications for larger society with class, sexual, gender, and ethnic differences as the primary focuses. Although this course is intended for anyone interested in media, students who are passionate about the inclusion of diverse social groups in media will learn the most.

Cultural Codes in Communication (COM484)
  • Offered by: University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education
  • Price: $1,880
  • Length: 10 weeks, self-paced
  • Format: PDF downloads, videos
  • Eligible for college credit?:Yes

Students learn different communications styles and methods with a focus on the variety of American subcultures. This course emphasizes face-to-face communication, so it will be most useful for students interested in conducting interviews with individuals from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds.

Sports and Media (MCO465)
  • Offered by: Arizona State University Online
  • Price: $1500
  • Length: 7.5 weeks
  • Format: Video lectures, quizzes, submitted assignments, downloadable readings, discussion boards
  • Eligible for college credit?:Yes

This course emphasizes the social importance of sports journalism, including material on the overall ethics and principles of journalism. Although this class is typically taken by those working towards a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies, anyone aspiring to improve their sports journalism skills would benefit from this course.

Key Advantages to Studying Journalism Online

While in some ways the field of traditional journalism—the journalism of the radio, television, and newspapers—is shrinking, ultimately the career is becoming more accessible to the average person with the rise of social media and citizen journalism. As a result, modern journalism courses are increasingly relevant in today’s technology- and internet-driven society, so taking online courses in journalism can provide multiple advantages for those looking to improve their standing in the field.

1 Learn Digital Media Skills

A growing majority of today’s journalism happens on the internet and taking classes online will help students prepare for that. Many of these courses are geared towards teaching the current trends in the field, such as visual storytelling and writing for digital platforms like blogs and online magazines.

2 Improve Social Media Know-How

oMany online journalism courses cover an emerging medium that traditional classes haven’t fully caught up with: social media. With apps and websites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others acting as hubs for the creation and dissemination of news, it is essential that modern journalists know how to use these tools to their advantage.

3 Build Your Journalism Portfolio

Online courses often end with a capstone project that can be used as an example of your work. A strong portfolio is essential for freelance journalists and can help land the right job. Many online journalism courses also focus on getting published, which is a powerful addition to any journalist’s resume.

Stay Up-to-Date in Journalism: Must-Have Apps & Podcasts

Apps

Journalists follow current trends by nature of the profession, so apps and social media have become important tools for professional and novice journalists alike. Apps are increasingly used to promote and to create news, and journalists can use them to follow breaking stories, find new writing subjects and publish their writing. Luckily, journalists stepping into the field have a wide variety of apps at their disposal.

Twitter

Free
See Description
Twitter

Twitter is the most prominent micro-blogging website, with posts limited to 140 characters. For the journalism student, Twitter can provide eyewitness accounts, breaking news, and quotes from prominent public figures. Beyond providing sources and inspiration, Twitter can be used as a place to post your own mini articles.

WordPress

Free
See Description
WordPress

If 140 characters isn’t enough, blogging platforms such as WordPress are excellent places for journalists to create and share their work. WordPress is a versatile tool that users can shape into whatever they need, whether that’s a place to post articles about music or to interact with other bloggers and journalists.

TwistedWave Audio Editor

$9.99
See Description
The TwistedWave Audio Editor app

The TwistedWave Audio Editor app is a streamlined version of the TwistedWave desktop program used by professionals in the communication fields. With this app, users can record and edit audio so you can conduct interviews and create podcasts on the go.

SmartNews

Free
See Description
SmartNews

A journalist must stay on top of the breaking news, and SmartNews makes that easy. This app provides stories from over 15 media partners including juggernauts like Associated Press, Reuters, and USA Today. The app includes intuitive filtering so journalists can quickly hone in on what’s relevant to their work.

5-0 Radio Police Scanner

Free
See Description
5-0 Radio Police Scanner

For the journalism professional, student, or enthusiast looking to report on breaking news, the 5-0 Radio Police Scanner can provide invaluable support. This scanner has live broadcasts of various worldwide police, firefighter, air traffic, emergency radios and beyond. With this app, you can report on the news as it happens.

Podcasts

While some journalists have chosen podcasting as their primary reporting method, anyone interested in journalism has a variety of podcasts they can benefit from. Some podcasts can help listeners explore new kinds of journalism—like music or local interest journalism—while others feature news stories and issues relevant to those working in the media. Listen to the podcasts below to find inspiration, new events, and new ideas.

National Public Radio Politics Podcast Tamara Keith, Scott Detrow, Sam Sanders, and Domenico Montanaro among others Recent Episode to Try: Quick Take: Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law

National Public Radio (NPR) is a high-profile radio program producer with award-winning news journalism. The Politics Podcast blends light humor with friendly discussion to present current events. While more informal than a traditional radio broadcast, it still typically covers the same material.

Journalism.co.uk Catalina Albeanu, Caroline Scott, Mădălina Ciobanu Recent Episode to Try: On air: Advice for women journalists working in broadcast media

is a news outlet for journalists, by journalists. The podcasts focus on issues and current events relevant to journalists as well as provide tips and stylistic ideas for reporters to use when honing their skills.

Serial Sarah Koenig Recent Episode to Try: Season Two, Episode One: Dustwun

The first season of Serial, focusing on the death of high schooler Hae Min Lee, uncovered evidence that brought the murder conviction against Adnan Syed into question. Serial has won multiple awards, including a Peabody, so it’s an excellent example of high-quality journalism.

On Media Brooke Gladstone, Bob Garfield Recent Episode to Try: Sad!

WNYC’s podcast On Media focuses on both current global events, with emphasis on the United States, and on how the media covers those events. This podcast provides the news while also stepping back and discussing how that news is covered.

Neighbors Jakob Lewis Recent Episode to Try: The Genius Improviser

Neighbors is a high-quality local interest podcast based in Nashville, Tennessee, and centered around the idea that Nashvillians should get to know their fascinating neighbors. The host Jakob Lewis skillfully blends extensive interviews with relevant background information.

Expert Advice for Taking Online Journalism Courses

There are some advantages to online schooling that most or all disciplines share, such as flexibility of scheduling. What are the advantages of taking media studies classes specifically online? How does the study of media and media literacy lend itself to an online course?
MaryLou Dr. Mary-Lou Galician

Although not all subjects lend themselves to totally online delivery, media analysis and criticism courses are especially well suited because of the opportunity online students have to review media examples (video, .pdfs, etc.), which are a major part of these courses, as many times as they wish as well as when they wish–aspects of online education that I find particularly beneficial. In a traditional classroom setting, students often miss parts of a presentation (and sometimes classroom equipment fails), and sometimes they miss an entire presentation due to absence for legitimate reasons, although there’s no way to obtain a “re-run.”

Are there any media literacy skills that may be more difficult to learn in an online classroom setting? Any skills that may be easier to learn online?
MaryLou Dr. Mary-Lou Galician

That really depends on individual students’ learning processes, mind-set, and motivation—and the instructor. […] My own online courses included a variety of presentations and exercises that I hope addressed a variety of learning styles and preferences. And I believe media courses should include instructor presentation of a wide variety of media examples and interviews with outside experts as well as student submission of a significant number of critical analysis essays. In many ways, this kind of course works better via online delivery.

What are some of the rewarding aspects of teaching courses about media literacy online?
MaryLou Dr. Mary-Lou Galician

Media literacy is my passion—and my “mission”! The most rewarding aspect of teaching ANY course is when students tell you that you’ve changed their lives for the better. Nothing beats that for me. Moreover, my own research convinced me that serious students appreciate the considerable benefits of online delivery of these courses. I also enjoy creating and presenting online content, so I was personally gratified that the hybridized format I’d introduced in my classroom mega-courses served as a launching pad for our totally online degree in mass communication and media studies, which enabled me to serve thousands of students around the world.