Oh Journalism School, How We Love/Loathe Thee: Part 17,689

Two recent pieces brought journalists’ love/hate relationship with journalism school back into the spotlight.  In the hate camp, Richard Sine writes on HuffPo with exasperated astonishment that anyone would pay for a journalism education given the current state of the economy and field.

In his piece, headlined subtly “Close the J-Schools,” Sine opines, “These kids are paying upwards of $70,000 . . . for a ghost’s chance of landing a job, at pitiful pay, in an industry that is rapidly collapsing. What’s going to be the next hot field in graduate study? Blacksmithing? Bloodletting? Steamship design?

His points are well-argued retreads of the traditional if there’s no job, where’s the beef? line of reasoning.  It’s certainly one philosophy, but it fails to consider that many, many, many, many, many students do not major in an academic field of study solely for the purpose of landing a job in that field upon graduation. Colleges and universities are not purely factory lines.

This sentiment is shared in a (slightly) more optimistic post about j-education by the blogger DigiDave.  At the close of a thoughtful, if rambling post, he summons the journalism Gods with this pronouncement: “I think there is a misconception that they hand out jobs at the end of J-school. I think 10 years ago this may have been true, but it isn’t right now, perhaps never will be again. The goal for when you come out of J-school is to start at the bottom, but be so refined and qualified that they’ll recognize how good you are quickly. Whereas others straight out of undergrad will be learning on the job– you’ll be showing off on the job. And there is real practical benefit to that in one’s career. So that’s how I see it. Go forth and journalize.”

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