Wanted: Student journalists?

In what could be considered a sign of the times, the University of Florida student paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, cannot find anyone to be its editor, reports the Sun Sentinel.

For the first time anyone can remember, no one has applied to be editor of TheIndependent Florida Alligator. The 102-year-old newspaper, which publishes five days a week and operates independent of UF, has extended its application deadline twice. 

Staffers complain that people drop off because of long hours and hard work, resulting in their grades slipping, said Ed Barber, president emeritus of the Alligator

Besides grades dropping, students normally interested in that job are probably wondering what’s the point. One would take that job, which is always time-demanding and intense at any daily, or good, student paper, because it looks great on your resume. It looks great to potential newspapers. With everything that’s happening with newspapers, however, maybe those students are paying more attention to their poli sci minor.

I have been thinking about the topic of students studying journalism a lot. It has been exactly a year since I graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University and I find myself at a crossroads, sort of. The economy is crappy and affecting many job industries, not just the print media. Yet I find myself wondering, is a degree in newspaper journalism a valid thing to get nowadays?

students1After much thinking, I would argue it still is. The skills you learn -knowing how to write well, interviewing and therefore interacting with others, being able to succinctly and accurately put facts together- will be useful in many different fields, not just journalism.

Journalists typically aren’t stupid. You have to think on your feet and have the guts to ask the tough questions. Schools like Newhouse put you on the road to being able to do that. You can use those skills in almost any job. 

I wonder if students applying to Northwestern’s Medill School and Newhouse has dropped this year. It would be a shame for students to stop learning print journalism. 

What are your thoughts? Is a bachelor’s in newspaper journalism being outdated? Will it go the way print seems to be going, as in away?

Image from flickr.com.

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Filed under J-schools, Newspapers in general

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