10 Best Online Courses For Those Seeking A Journalism Career

Online journalism courses are a great way to boost your chances of a future career in journalism. Image credit: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock.com
Online journalism courses are a great way to boost your chances of a future career in journalism. Image credit: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock.com
  • The courses offered by the The School of The New York Times are taught by the publication's staff and other seasoned industry professionals.
  • NYU launched an online master’s degree program in journalism in 2019.
  • A certificate in data journalism teaches students to process and present big data for use in media sites and publications.

Thanks to the Internet there are so many things you can do now in the comfort of your home. Not only can you earn a living from your living room, but you can even earn a degree or take short courses to augment your resume and learn some new skills all without leaving your house.

For those of you who have a knack for telling stories and have a way with words here are a few online journalism courses and certificates you can take to help you get started on your journalism career. Most of these will hone your writing and communication skills that will help get your foot in the door, others are structured journalism degrees from established universities that will lay down the foundation as it teaches you the rudiments of the practice.

Here are ten journalism courses you can take online that are worth your time and money.

10. The School Of The New York Times (Virtual Storytelling)

The New York Times has made a name for itself as a premium source of information from seasoned journalists who ask hard-hitting questions about the day’s most pressing issues. After years of being in the frontlines, they have decided to help mold the next generation of journalists through The School of The New York Times.  The program includes online classes for professionals who want to hone their craft, with lessons taught by New York Times journalists and other seasoned professionals. Courses are self-paced which means you can decide when you want to start and finish. Certificates are relatively affordable too compared to others with the certificate in VR (virtual reality) storytelling you can enroll in for USD 645.

9. University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (Multimedia Journalism)

The course, offered under U of T’s school of continuing studies department, will teach you how to write for the web and use social media to promote your content online. Instructors are industry leaders and other seasoned practitioners who will help you use tools that will allow you to adapt to the digital world. The course costs around CAD 769 and can be taken on its own or as part of the Multimedia Journalism certificate. The latter requires students to complete 3-4 other related courses in the program to earn a U of T Certificate.

8. Master Class in Journalism By Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward is one of this generation’s most respected investigative journalists. He’s an award-winning wordsmith who earned his stripes after working as a reporter for the Washington Post for many decades. Two Pulitzer Prizes and over a dozen best-selling books later Bob is sharing his decades-worth of knowledge about the craft in his compelling Master Class on Investigative Journalism. The course will take you hunting for a story using in-depth reporting and old-school journalistic digging for clues. It’s a fun and exciting course taught by one of the most renowned professional journalists in the world.

7. London School of Journalism (Distance Learning Courses)

The London School of Journalism is a world-renowned institution that has been training students for over 100 years. Their course list includes over a dozen classes for every type of journalistic writing you’d like to study. The freelance and feature writing course for instance will teach you about modern freelance writing as a paid profession, Internet Journalism on the other hand offers in-depth training for those who want to focus on content writing for the web. Students need to download the course workbooks, and then answer the quizzes after. The tutor will then check the work, provide feedback, and answer any of your questions about the course.

6. Poynter News University (Online Journalism Courses)

The Poynter Institute has been one of the premier institutions that have been upholding journalistic standards for decades. Through their news university, they offer more than a hundred online courses and seminars for aspiring journalists as well as experienced ones who want to polish their skills. Some would require you to pay around USD300 to USD 600 while others are offered for free. They offer many interesting classes, webinars, and certificate courses that will not only help you write but communicate in other ways too.

5. Alison Online Diploma In Journalism

Alison is a free learning platform that offers free classes and training online for people who want to polish their skills. The journalism modules are designed for newbies who may not have previous journalism education but would like to get started on a journalism career. Courses are relatively short and all are offered online so you can do this on the side after work on weekends. They are not as extensive compared to those offered by established universities but the good thing about it is they’re free.

4. Michigan State (Online Journalism Certificate)

This program offered through Coursera is the best for those who just want to brush up on the basics and not delve too deep into the rudiments of journalism. The course is offered fully online and will allow you to learn at your own pace. The entire program could be finished in 27 hours and will earn you a certificate you can share on your online profiles. The course includes discussions on responsible journalism and ethics as well as becoming a professional freelance journalist.

3. The University of Illinois (Visualization for Data Journalism)

There’s been a demand for journalists who can understand and present big data in ways that are easy for other people to understand. The course will give you the skills you need to be able to tell stories using important data. Here you will learn to communicate big data using graphs like those used in The New York Times and Vox. It only takes around 16 hours to complete the program but you’d need to know basic phyton before you can enroll.

2. The University of Nebraska (Online Masters in Journalism)

If you are dead serious about getting solid journalism education but are limited by your location you can also consider taking online graduate degrees from established universities.  The University of Nebraska offers students the chance to earn a Masters in Journalism through a program that’s delivered fully online. It’s a little bit more pricey compared to other certificates and courses but they have one of the most affordable tuition for a Master's degree in the States. It will give you a solid foundation through courses on media law, media history, and advanced reporting.  It offers a non-thesis option so you can finish the degree faster.

1. NYU Online Masters in Journalism

The prestigious NYU and its equally renowned Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute launched an online master’s degree program in journalism in 2019. The curriculum is designed to help students navigate virtual newsrooms and understand the nature of digital media. Since the entire program is offered online, students will work within their locale and act as correspondents in their home town. Classes are composed of live virtual meetings that are structured like those you’d see in newsrooms. Here students will learn the rudiments of journalism and learn standards of the practice. It doesn’t come cheap though, but the program is designed to be flexible to allow students to work full-time while studying.


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