#CJW – Media

Tag: #CJW – Media

Political Journalism

With Election Day just days away and coverage of the campaign season dominating the news, aspiring writers and journalists may be considering political journalism as a career path.  Journalism is a broad field in which reporters and correspondents can choose to report on a variety of topics.  For example, there are sports journalists, entertainment journalists, trade journalists, etc. 

Political journalism focuses on government, politics and political candidates. It covers different segments of political activity, such as local, national or international news. Political journalists report on the activities of elected officials, political processes, political campaigns, and elections. It includes reporting political news, and conducting investigative and watchdog reporting to ensure that the public has access to information about political activity.  Political journalism applies to print, digital and broadcast media. 

Political journalists may also report news in the form of the opinion journalism genre.  Therein lies one of the biggest challenges in being a political journalist – providing objective reporting about events.  Once a political journalist starts reporting a story from a biased perspective, they cease being a political journalist and start moving into the world of a political commentary, which is when a writer or broadcaster expresses an opinion versus simply reporting facts.

Terms like “fake news” have been tossed around quite frequently over the past 5-6 years, but accusations of biased reporting have existed for decades.  For example, FOX News and the Wall Street Journal are frequently called out as a cable network and newspaper that are overly conservative in their reporting, while the CNN and MSNBC cable channels and the New York Times newspaper are often criticized for spreading a liberal agenda.  Students with an interest in political journalism should carefully consider if they can keep their reporting objective and free from bias or if they would rather report the news from one side or the other and try to shape public opinion.

While the aforementioned media outlets report on number of topics, other smaller outlets keep the vast majority of their reporting to government and political topics only.  These should be considered as possible internship and work sites for those who are only interested in reporting in these areas. Two of the best known are Politico and The Hill.  Others popular web sites with a heavy dose of political journalism (though with partisan spin) include the Huffington Post, Breitbart, Vox and the Daily Caller.

To become a political journalist, one would follow the track they would follow to become a journalist in any specialty, by first getting general journalism experience at a college newspaper, followed by additional experience at a local newspaper, web site or broadcast outlet and work their way up from there.  A degree in English or Government is also helpful.  The majority of political journalism opportunities exist in the New York City and Washington D.C. areas.  Job opportunities in journalism are expected to grow in the future, although at a slightly slower pace than average.




Broadcasting vs. Podcasting

If you have something to say and want to be heard, there are a number of communications careers that might fit the bill. Today, we will talk about two of them – radio broadcasting and podcasting.

Traditional radio broadcasting dates back to 1920 with the launch of KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh. A career as a radio announcer can be very fulfilling and allows you to share your thoughts in a very creative way. FM stations primarily play music whereas AM station programming is usually limited to news, talk, and sports. Unfortunately, due to the rise of streaming music apps, industry consolidation, and national syndication, jobs in radio are hard to find. In fact, over the next ten years, the industry is expected to shrink. The average salary for radio announcers is fairly low (about $40k per year), although top announcers (Ryan Seacrest, Howard Stern) command multi-million dollar salaries.

A modern alternative to radio broadcasting is podcasting, which most agree began around 2004. Podcasting involves creating digital recordings and making them available for download or streaming to a computer or mobile device. Because of the costs associated with music licensing, nearly all podcasts are limited to talk. A podcast usually features one or more hosts engaged in a discussion about a particular topic. Hosting a podcast allows the host(s) to express a personal passion, increase professional visibility, and cultivate a community of like-minded thinkers. Launching your own podcast is very affordable, sometimes limited to just the cost of a computer, internet connection, and decent microphone. While well-known hosts like Joe Rogan and Dax Shepard earn millions of dollars per year, most beginning podcasters do not earn anything.

A career in podcasting requires a great deal of investment in terms of time, effort, and resources. It is crucial that you have a clear understanding of why you want to do it and who your audience is. Just like any business venture, you should have a solid game plan for your podcasting business.

To talk more about careers in broadcasting or podcasting, make an appointment with Ty in the Career Center!

Social Marketing

Jonathan Hogan

If you’re a humanities major, there’s a good chance that you’ve been told that your excellent writing and analytical skills could allow you to go into marketing.  You’ve probably rolled your eyes at this idea—why sell your soul to the optimization of an economic system that so obviously perpetuates terrible injustices?  But before you write off marketing forever, read this article on social marketing, a type of marketing typically sponsored by NGOs or governments and used for the betterment of society.

Social marketing is perhaps best explained through examples, and one of the best comes from Wisconsin’s own UW Madison. In 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UW Madison, and a handful of NGOs teamed up to advertise healthy eating. They played off of Wisconsin residents’ love of their sports teams to create the ads visible in this article (Henschen). Further examples of social marketing can be found in the now ubiquitous “click it or ticket” campaign, and a water rationing campaign led in Jordan, in which businesses were entered into a lottery after installing water-conserving valves in their buildings to incentivize their installation and raise awareness about their effects (About Us | The NSMC).

If this article has piqued your interest, you might be wondering: how does one learn more about social marketing? A good place to start is The National Social Marketing Centre (link), an NGO dedicated to social marketing that has its origins in the innovative British Department of Health. The National Social Marketing Centre appears to be the home for social marketing, at least as it pertains to public health, and can serve to give you an even deeper understanding of social marketing as an industry. For a job in social marketing, the best places to look are state and federal government platforms such as USAJOBS. Simply entering the term “marketing” will yield plenty of results. The one caveat to this approach is that strong knowledge of marketing is typically required for these jobs. To be a competitive applicant, you’ll likely need an educational or experiential background in marketing. While this experience may indeed come from an entry-level social marketing position, it will most likely come from a Master’s in marketing, or experience at a less mission-oriented marketing position. Hopefully, however, the appeal of social marketing as an industry that both requires writing and analytical skills, and sees marketers work for the betterment of society, is enough to consider spending a few years in general marketing.

Jonathan is a Third Year German and Government major. He works as a Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

About Us | The NSMC. https://www.thensmc.com/about-us. Accessed 12 Oct. 2021.

Henschen, Holly. “FoodWIse’s FNV Campaign Wins International Social Marketing Award.” University of Wisconsin-Madison, 10 July 2018, https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/news/2018/07/10/foodwises-fnv-campaign-wins-international-national-centre-for-social-marketing-award/.

Social Media PR as a Profession

By Jonathan Hogan

For many (especially the social media inclined), working as a social media specialist—that is, someone who designs content for and represents the company on social media platforms—can seem like a dream job. Yet, just like any professional position, there is a lot more to working as a social media specialist than meets the eye…


As already mentioned, social media specialists primarily create content and interact with companies’ customers/fans; however, most content posted by a social media specialists has been reviewed by multiple supervisors and has been patiently waiting in an automated calendar for months before it is released. Considering that social media specialists often create posts that are viewed by thousands of potential customers, such caution is to be expected. Yet, there is another reason for such a regimented timeframe: most posts are designed with a specific strategy and objective in mind and subsequently analyzed with the help of data analytics software. Just as any marketing department’s content, social media content receives considerable time and attention before and after the release of the content to ensure that the individual or team is working as efficiently as possible to meet broader company objectives.

Customer Services and Engaging with Fans

Contrasting with the lack of spontaneity in a social media specialists’ content creation process is the second most important element of a social media specialists’ job: responding to customers online. Most social media specialists pride themselves on their ability to make real, human connections with individuals engaging with their company. To accomplish this successfully, social media specialists are called to respond to queries or complaints with authenticity and promptness. Many social media specialists find this to be the most exciting part of their job; however, they also add that it comes with the stress of representing an entire brand in a public and unregulated fashion. For many, it takes months to work spontaneously without frequent emails to supervisors to ensure that responses are appropriate for the brand’s image.

Daily Schedule

Outside of creating and scheduling content for release and responding to customers, social media specialists engage with a wide variety of activities throughout their workdays. Brian Peters, a social media specialist at Buffer neatly presented his schedule on Buffer’s website:

7-7:30am: Breakfast & coffee12-12:30pm: Lunch5:30-6:45pm: Gym
7:30-8:30am: Email & voicemail12:30-1pm: Emails and voicemails6:45-8pm: Dinner with my wife
8:30-9am: Check-in on all social media platforms1-1:30pm: Respond and engage with community8-9pm: Learn (programming, video making, etc.)
9-9:30am: Measure social results and add to spreadsheets1:30-2:00pm: Curate content9-10pm: Relax and watch TV
9:30-10am: Respond and engage with community2-2:30pm: Read and learn10-10:30pm: Read
10-10:30am: Schedule new content to Buffer2:30-2:45: Break10:30pm: Sleep and repeat!
10:30-10:45am: Break & more coffee (much needed!)2:45-3pm: Schedule content to Buffer 
10:45-11am: Read and learn3-4:30pm: Content creation (video, graphics) 
11am-12pm: Content creation (podcast, writing)4:30-5pm: Emails and voicemails 
 5-5:30pm: Check Buffer queue 

As is evident in Brian Peter’s schedule, working as a social media specialist is a demanding job, which often requires constant availability and the agility to address urgent issues, trending content, and algorithmic changes to social media platforms at the drop of a hat. Because of this intensity, many social media specialists have mentioned having difficulty separating work from down-time, and social media from work.

For those dedicated individuals with a penchant for social media, design, community engagement, and strategizing, social media PR may be a field for you. But be aware, the field is rigorous and often demands much more than a typical 8 eight-hour workday.  

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

Booz, Nicole. “What It Is Really Like to Work in Social Media.” GenTwenty, 4 Oct. 2015, gentwenty.com/what-it-is-really-like-to-work-in-social-media/.

Doyle, Alison. “Best Social Media Career Options to Consider.” The Balance Careers, 17 Sept. 2020, www.thebalancecareers.com/social-media-job-titles-2061507.

Kearl, Mary. Noodle, 17 Oct. 2019, www.noodle.com/articles/the-pros-and-cons-of-becoming-a-social-media-manager.

Morgan, Brittney. “7 Social Media Pros On What They Love (and Hate) About Their Jobs.” Business News Daily, 9 Sept. 2015, www.businessnewsdaily.com/8359-social-media-career-pros-cons.html.

Peters, Brian. “A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager: How to Maximize Your Time on Social Media in 2017.” Buffer Library, Buffer Library, 30 June 2020, buffer.com/library/social-media-manager-checklist/.

Samuels, Rachael. “9 Skills Every Social Media Manager Must Have.” Sprout Social, 7 May 2020, sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-skills/.