Is college worth it?
This monumental question must have been asked since the dawn of the institution. Years of sleepless nights in the library with stacks of textbooks and homework assignments that tower overhead, but society tells us that it is all for a purpose. We have to spend those four inglorious years as a slave to universities and professors just to earn the final piece of paper with a seal and a crest on it. That fateful diploma that signifies our achievement, and hangs in a frame on the wall. It used to mean a guaranteed job back in the day when students had to walk in the snow for miles uphill both ways just to get to class. Now a college education just means that we are part of a crowd fighting to use those four years of knowledge. Every journalism student wants that dream job after college, and we all feel like we earned it before quickly finding out that life doesn’t work that way.
In Deborah Potter‘s article about Journalism school, Hub Brown from Syracuse University makes three points for defending the establishment’s honor. He poses the argument that no news organization wants to hire an employee that they have to train, so students must learn the technical skills for the job before they ever walk into a job interview. Secondly, a student is taught the ethical principles and critical thinking associated with reporting, which makes them more responsible journalists. His final point is that universities require several hours of study outside the student’s major, which cultivates each as a well-rounded individual as well as giving them a better sense of the world of issues and topics they will be writing about.
It can be tough leaving the shelter of parental professors in the quest to make it in the big, bad world. College offers a learning environment that provides students the tools of writing and reporting, but preparation can only go so far before the student sets off on his or her own to find a career. With newspapers dying off one-by-one and a new generation demanding and devouring media like it is Thanksgiving dinner, future journalists have waning opportunities and a world-wide-web of obstacles.
The good news is that there is a new kind of turkey on the table because of the burgeoning media realm. Established news organizations are hiring wide-eyed and bushy-tailed graduates to revamp and promote news blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebooks and websites. Discovering how to appeal to modern audiences is a goal from broadcast stations to magazines.
PBS recently launched the series Beyond J-School studying how teaching media has evolved. Sponsored by Carneige-Knight News21, the collection of articles are written by top students from 12 journalism schools and covers several aspects of what the future holds for journalism.