Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 24 2010

11:52

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 :)

Related articles by Zemanta
Enhanced by Zemanta

August 10 2010

11:34

Guardian Careers: Diary of a budding journalist

Recent graduate Nikki Osman is keeping a diary for the Guardian’s careers’ site of her attempts to land a job and career in journalism.

Now, almost a year on, with a portfolio in progress and a burgeoning, if not yet bulging, book of contacts, I’m still feeling confident. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the highs and lows of my perpetual endeavour to see my words in print and online, as I work on my pitching, dream up inventive feature ideas and attempt to dazzle editors with my passionate prose. With the class of 2010 hot on my heels and the world of words busier than ever, arguably there’s never been a worse time for the budding journo. But persistence pays off, right?

Read part one of Nikki’s diary at this link…

If you’re a young journalist or a would-be hack, why not sign-up to our blog network aimed at journalists under 30 to share their experiences of journalism, jobs and more.Similar Posts:



August 04 2010

15:21

#TNTJ – the return of a blog and information network for young journalists

TNTJ, or Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists, was set up to provide an informal blogging network for young journalists to share their experiences of the industry and debate, discuss and dissect the issues affecting their fledgling careers.

We’re relaunching the blog network under the same criteria, but with some new features planned. Every month there will be a new question or topic up for discussion. If you join TNTJ, we’d like your views on it, but we also want you to blog on your own site too to spread the word. It’s an opportunity to make new contacts, get advice and promote yourself online – you can create a user profile for all your posts on the TNTJ site.

In addition to the monthly debates, we’ll post events, opportunities, interviews and advice that we think would interest our TNTJ members. Please feel free to do the same.

To sign up, please click ‘Register’ in the sidebar or click here to register. ANYBODY can sign-up, so long as you:

1) Are younger than 30-years-old;
2) And you blog about journalism/are interested in taking part in an online discussion about journalism.

Enter your details, and soon we’ll activate your account so you can post your entry. Bear with us while we do that – it’s not an automated process, but we’ll be quick as we can.

The revamped TNTJ will be moderated by a team of young journalists, who we’ll be introducing shortly along with a question for August. You can also follow the blog on Twitter, @TNTJ.

Let’s get blogging!Similar Posts:



Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.
(PRO)
No Soup for you

Don't be the product, buy the product!

close
YES, I want to SOUP ●UP for ...