In Defense of Journalism Education

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I have a degree in Journalism.  I am proud of that education, and the places it’s taken me.  I am also a rarity in journalism, I feel, as employers increasingly seem to value graduates with qualifications in political science, economics, perhaps history, and then maybe a graduate degree in Journalism. (or forgo it all together) Students are, sometimes jokingly, warned away from an undergraduate education in journalism or media studies because the craft of journalism is one honed, or not, through a career, and the basics can be picked up on the job.  No journalism degree is necessary, and in fact other specialties would be cherished more.

The debate over attending journalism school (J-School) is not new, and I feel the proponents for the degree are being outnumbered.  Journalism training Mecca, the Poynter Institute, recently aggregated four recent arguments against a journalism degree. I understand the profession is changing, and I understand technology is evolving at a pace faster than many media outlets can handle effectively, but there are certain basics picked up in the journalistic test-kitchen of a university which are disappearing by the lack of emphasis on a journalism education.  And the profession, public, and society are suffering because of it.

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Journalists and Playing “Hardball”

Chow
Chow
Your correspondent (center left) enjoys fruit and pastries with the French minister of immigration. (not pictured) (Photo: Aurelia Figueroa)

It has been a fascinating year as a Bosch fellow in terms of group dynamics.  I was told before the fellowship began that journalists tended to be chosen to spice the group up a bit and keep things interesting.  During Bosch meetings with policy makers, journalists, politicians, etc I didn’t really remember that I was supposed to “spice things up.” 

It just sort of happened naturally.

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