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August 24 2010


The value of a journalism degree

Recently I came across an interesting new blog called Wannabe Hacks. (@wannabehacks) It’s a group blog from three people all taking a different route in to journalism. It’s an interesting idea and one worth watching.

So it was a nice coincidence to see my name, along with Paul Bradshaw in one of their tweets.

@digidickinson @paulbradshaw Can anyone tell us the perceived perks of an undergrad journo course over doing non-journo degree? skills etcAugust 20, 2010 2:35 pm via webwannabehacks
Wannabe Hacks

An interesting question. Any answer I give is bound to be viewed as biased. After all teaching undergrads is what pays my mortgage. But I’m going to give it a go.

Any discussion about the ‘value’ or ‘perks’ of a degree in general will always stray in to the area of the inherent value of a university education.

I enjoyed David Mitchells take on this in the Observer. I liked this summing up in particular.

Except in the case of a few very vocational degrees, university isn’t about what you learn on the course, it’s about how that learning, how living and studying somewhere new, changes the way you think and who you are. Instead of forcing kids to make binding career choices at 17,higher education is supposed to give students who would benefit from further academic development a bit of space in which to find themselves. People who are allowed to do that, statisticians have noted, tend to earn more than those who aren’t.

There is so much I agree with there. But I found myself nodding at the line “students who would benefit from further academic development”.

University is not for everyone. Not because some people are not capable or intelligent enough. It should be just one of the environments that are available to encourage and develop people. Of course the shame of it is that for a good while a University has become one of the only environments to develop. No more apprenticeships or on the job training any more – especially in journalism. Worse still they seem to have been steadily belittled and undervalued in recent times.

That means good journalism degrees have found themselves in that ‘few’ that Mitchell talked about. They are vocational courses, training people to work in journalism because, increasingly journalism orgs won’t.

That is one of their greatest ‘perks’.

I won’t go as far as to say that journalism undergraduate courses are the ‘best of both worlds’. But a good course will give you all the skills you need and the time to experiment with them in an environment that is geared towards your experience. A chance to find yourself, yes. But also a chance to develop skills and find your voice.

But (and this is a big but) there is cost to a degree. It’s not just in the very real and important issue of money. It’s in the amount of time and effort you put in.

Given three years in which to establish yourself and prepare for work, you have to keep an eye on where you want to go. At some point university is going to finish, so what are you doing to give yourself some ‘exit velocity’

Perhaps you are starting a hyperlocal news site or blog about your experiences. Maybe you have joined journalism.co.uk’s young journalism group TNTJ. Perhaps you write for your local newspaper or do shifts at the local radio station. Maybe you even work on the student media at your uni. All of that takes time. Time you could be in the bar finding yourself. But that’s journalism.

So, given my biased position, I think the perk of a journalism degree is time. You have three years and if you are outward looking and engaged nothing you do will be wasted.

The other side
In saying all of that I don’t want to give the impression that I see Journalism degrees as the only way to become a journalist. The idea of taking a first degree in a subject like economics or law and then doing a postgraduate in journalism is one I think has a huge amount of merit. As does going through the front door and getting a job with a media organisation or even starting your own blog/publication/podcast and building an audience. Plenty of people would advocate the university of life route over a journalism degree
. But then the it always suprises me what skip-loads of extraneous horse-droppings get talked about the whole issue these days :)

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July 31 2010


2008 Documentary about Columbia Journalism School (long)

Since the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism—the only j-school in the Ivy League—opened nearly a century ago, its mission has been to educate journalists and uphold the standards of journalistic excellence. Columbias Journalism School offers three degree programs: Master of Science in journalism (full and part-time), Master of Arts in journalism and a Ph.D. in communications. Students study journalism in the classroom, but also by covering diverse neighborhoods of New York City with close guidance and mentoring from their professors. Students form intense bonds during their time at the school. Every day, students are invited to attend and participate in lectures, workshops, conferences, and receptions with journalists who visit the school.

In the hours after the New Hampshire primary and the media’s confusion over the polls, Tom Brokaw tells Chris Matthews about ‘old time journalism’, where journalists report on issues and stop trying to predict who’s going to win.

February 24 2010


What Ensquared Would Tell Google About On Nexus One Insurance

Apple and AT & T with a path green before two years to make innovation on the iPhone and no link is worrying time, without making the issue of insurance iPhone. If your camera buyers of the iPhone was lost for some reason he was carrying a case of “bad luck” and simply a threat to consumers by the Heads of State and Government. With the technology of the iPhone so far when it seems it was a risk that the iPhone user was ready to run. Now, with similar devices, the phone does not grow with insurance options may negatively to a competitive economy, a critical link We must fight on the capital. In the present situation the only supplier / distributor of insurance for the iPhone available from Apple Care extended warranty, which is significant given the small and there is a gap in the accident damage, loss and theft cost. This has been partially filled by companies such as SquareTrade Safeware, and others on the Internet, but not totally a political and not at the point of sale. The loss or break an iphone in an accident can be very expensive.

The facts of the telephone company in the insurance you: Smartphone at the iPhone and Nexus A level of compensation for loss, theft or damage is about $ 500. This brings them in relative terms, the arena of the laptop and can be a costly experience can be when it will be a serious accident as a supplier does not subsidize phones in the same second contract. In addition, smartphone technology more complex, sensitive and cost of repairs is still so high that compensation is often independent of the insurer best solution.

The Nexus One is a new entry in the mobile arena, and he does not claim that it is positioned directly on the iPhone. He, however, make a long climb up two important reasons:

iPhone cut the innovator reference touch screens on mobile devices, building a new paradigm in the order of inclusion, which is growing exponentially and is a great attraction for worship iPhone

The fact that Nexus is, in fact, a Google phone, and no doubt Google is an innovator in the Central and time changer note is the channel, even from mobile devices and removes some of the direction of iPhone on the channel.

Nexus When we asked advice There is no doubt that this is an enormous gap in size in the fabric of the iPhone phone insurance. On this platform, the attack must be made.

How an insurance website phone experts would Ensquared: Nexus One is well advised to fix responsibility for the underwriters a strong connection to a phone-insurance program for your device: A, take the extended warranty , damage beyond the attack and also Nexus Nexus A lost and stolen by a well. The fact that the device is sold unlocked and not affiliated with any service provider requires thinking outside the box. In the same way that manufacturers of equipment in a tie with telephone service providers could Nexus another insurance company to approve an interview (perhaps even a small subsidy) for the insurance options on the interface between a type. Made a significant and important benefit would be contrary to competition that this aspect has been totally ignored. This is a track open right now. Ensquared number 1 of the Insurance Authority on the phone has a very good view of the participating mobile phone insurance market, which would be called into question, including its own strategic alliances. Insurance phone is often a weak central hidden in each unit to buy but could not be propelled to the forefront of reasons to buy a unit for another – especially in the highly expensive smartphone. The mobile strategy, however,

For more information on Nexus One Phone Insurance, Nexus Insurance, Insurance Google Android, Android insurance can be found at www. ensquared. com

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