Science and Agricultural Journalism Program

 

Consumer interest in topics such as food production, climate change, energy, biotechnology and the link between agriculture and the environment, has never been greater. The Science and Agricultural Journalism program teaches students how to communicate (using traditional and new media) about issues that affect people's everyday lives.

A bachelor's of science degree in Science and Agricultural Journalism from the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) will provide you with all the skills you'll need to succeed in a wide variety of careers. The degree is offered in partnership with the MU School of Journalism.

An individualized degree program will allow you to acquire both journalism skills and an extensive background in science or business that you'll apply to the career field that most interests you. Some careers you might consider include:

Ag reporter

Public Relations representatives work in various communication and promotional roles for specific businesses, organizations, causes or other clients. PR professionals handle press releases, media kits, news conferences, proposals, brochures, presentations and more. They often serve as spokespeople for companies and are responsible for generating positive energy and news to promote.

Marketing specialists may perform a variety of functions at several levels. Public relations and advertising often fall under this rather broad category. Many find themselves in sales positions where they help to brand and market a company for new clients. Depending on the organization or cause they represent, they may be required to perform a wide range of tasks, often using their business intellect.

Advertising, much like public relations, involves a communication process but is often focused on gaining profits for a company. This area is driven by creativity and design, but content and editing also play a major role. Advertisers can work for one client or a series of companies in conceiving, designing, developing and producing ad campaigns for local, regional, national and international use.

Photographers, whether they use still or video cameras, film or digital, are responsible for providing images that add another dimension to communication. Photographs can help to convey a message or explain a concept. With the explosion of growth in digital media, the demand for high-quality visuals has never been greater.

Reporters (Broadcast, Print and Digital) are employed by newspapers, magazines, websites, television and radio stations to cover the news of the day for their respective audiences. As a reporter, you might write hard news stories about the latest medical advancements or government policies on technology. For more in-depth features, you might focus on the impact biotechnology is having on Missouri's Ag industry. Science and agricultural journalists might also file live reports and manage blogs and podcasts from world agriculture summits or conferences on food and wine or sustainable agriculture. The possibilities for writers and broadcasters are endless, particularly with the emergence of new forms of media.

 

Editors find employment with many of the same media outlets as reporters, but they carry a different set of responsibilities. Editors take reporters' stories and mold them into editorial content that can be published in a newspaper, magazine, website, journal or broadcast through television and radio.

Freelance journalists usually don't work for just one publication or company but rather a variety of outlets. Offering their unique work for a fee, freelancers are similar to entrepreneurs in that they are essentially their own bosses who set their own hours, work load and pay. Starting out as a freelance writer can be difficult, especially if it is the only means of income. Freelancers are at the mercy of their clients for a paycheck. However, once begun, freelancing can be a challenging and rewarding career.

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