For years, being a journalist and having a college degree did not necessarily go hand in hand. Today, that is still true. Reporters do not need a bachelor’s in journalism to do their job well. Yet many, such as myself, went to j-school. Was that necessary?
I was reading the Journalism Iconoclast’s post “The great journalism education debate” and was very interested by the different ideas brought up here. The main idea of the post was how should journalism school be evolving. Do students need a four year degree or would a certificate suffice? What types of classes should be taken, should students major, minor or do a cross discipline approach, etc.?
As an alum of a j-school, I think a cross discipline approach might be the most beneficial. The post describes one way that would occur:
Then there is a cross discipline approach. For instance, let’s say a school offered an entrepreneurial journalism program. Wouldn’t it make sense for students to be required to take courses such as economics, marketing and business management?
And I can’t imagine having an entrepreneurial journalism program that doesn’t require some Web development and computer science courses. These computer and business classes would be core requirements for the major.
By cross discipline, I don’t mean just taking a bunch of random Arts and Sciences classes, like many journalism majors are required to take. I mean requiring specific courses, particularly in areas that could help make someone a better journalist. Most journalists are lacking when it comes to computer and business.
It would have been immensely helpful to have in my background classes on economics and computer science. But I never took those because it didn’t fit into my class schedule. Yet if I wanted to be an education reporter, for example, having classes in education and teaching would definitely help my stories. Journalists are suppose to be mini experts on everything- education would surely help that.
Readers, what do you think? Is there any point to schools like Medill and Newhouse or should they throw in the towel now, at least regarding their journalism classes? Or do aspiring reporters still get something out them?
Image from Daryl Cagle via Cagle Cartoons.