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Why a journalism degree will only get you so far

August 12th, 2010Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs, Magazines, Training

Got a journalism degree but can’t get a job? It’s a struggle facing countless graduates at the moment, but what is the actual value of a degree in such a competitive industry?

According to Canadian graduate Laura Drake, writing on the Macleans ‘OnCampus’ magazine website, no one should think spending a few years at university is a golden pass to employment.

What a journalism undergraduate degree will get you are amazing memories, good connections with profs who know hundreds of working journalists, marketable skills in the form of writing and communications abilities. What it will not get you, and what no one ever promises it will get you, is a job in journalism.

To be clear, in my recollection, no one at j-skool ever lied about this, either. I’m pretty sure that from literally day one, lectures included messages from profs that, if you wanted to get a job in journalism on the other side, then you were going to have to hustle outside of class. A journalism degree on its own is never, ever going to get anyone a job in media. Students, newspaper experience, community radio, working for small-town media, free work placements, academic exchanges and, at this point, extra curricular web experience are basically mandatory if you’re interested in hunting for a job.

It’s as I was always told, every qualification, experience and contact is like a key. The more keys you have, the more doors you can open.

See her full post here…

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  • http://www.twitter.com/paulruk Paul Rayment

    Agree totally. I worked in magazine for a bit but now work in PR.

    Doing my degree (finished in 2001) was an eye opener and wallet emptier. Part of my degree included the history of journalism and the printed word…To this day I have never found a need for it. What has the history of the first newspaper got to do with being a journalist?!?!

    Aside from that the course was spread so thin with students getting limited experience of TV/Radio/Print and a tiny bit of online. Ended up barely skilled in any while students doing a media degree were able to specialise.

    I agree getting work in media outlets is essential but many Unis aren’t in media blessed locations. I was in Lincoln with a small local paper and radio stations all pissed off with getting students after placements. Luckily I had a friend in radio and got some hands on work at Hulls Viking FM.

    I’d like to see courses now looking at working with PR agencies and working with the commercial nature of the industry. Maybe some do this, it has been a while.

  • Pingback:   The value of a journalism degree by andydickinson.net

  • Holly Archard

    Hi looking for a little advice…I’m soon starting sixth form and I am going to do History, English Literature and Photography. I’m hoping to go to university and do some kind of Journalism course or degree…However I’m not sure what course would be best to get into the career.

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