Media Musings Blog Archive Are Universities selling journalism students useless degrees Advancements in technology have brought about about job losses in print, most recently in Fairfax with 45 jobs lost due to the scrapping of its monthly Melbourne and Sydney magazine inserts.
And while everyone is in a panic about the industries sustainability and future job prospects, many have criticised universities for offering journalism students useless degrees. It true universities are churning out more journalists than ever in a jobs environment that is currently facing what can rightly be called a recession. But critics questioning the viability of journalism studies, (and therefore the last 7 months of my life), really gets me fired up. A journalism degree is not useless. Sure jobs might be scarce, but new opportunities are out there. Online media ventures are popping up constantly. Sure the pay might not be great, (if you even get paid initially), but since when has journalism been well paid? Ask any established journalist why they got into journalism and chances are they say they do it because they like talking to people, reading, writing and engaging with the world around them. At least that what the journalists I have spoken to have said. And things haven changed. Journalism students today study journalism because it is what they want to do, regardless of the money or job prospects. We do it because it what we love and we simply can imagine doing anything else. Another thing I hear some people say is that reporting is a skill you learn on the job, not from a book. During an internship at a local radio station earlier this year I had a reporter say just that to me. He proudly told me he had got his job based on success in prior professional sporting endeavours and had learnt everything he knew about journalism on the job. And while I agree there is a lot to be said for what can be learned in the workplace, it is simply not the way things are done now. A decade or so a go you might have been able to land a cadetship with a local media organisation straight out of high school, but these days cadetships are only given to the most promising of university graduates. And even then a lot of luck is involved. NO ONE is hiring young journalists without some prior experience or tertiary qualification. Universities are not selling journalists useless degrees. Margaret Simons said it well when she posted on The Drum that there are opportunities available for journalism students, and there is value in a journalism degree. Students today are learning not only how to write, but also to create online content, edit photographs and operate their own cameras for filming television reports. We being trained in skills other journalists never had to learn, and it exciting. I feel like I have gotten a lot out of my degree, and regardless of whether it takes me weeks, months or years to get a full time, paid job. 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