Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is Journalism a Safe Major?

Q & A from Joe Grimm, the "Ask the Recruiter" columnist for Poynter online:
Q. I know a lot of questions you answer come from students graduating from college or older adults who are already working in the journalism field, but I'm hoping you can still help me.

I'm going into my freshman year of college and I've wanted to study journalism for a couple of years now. I read your column every day, and it doesn't take much to know that journalism isn't the best profession to be in right now. Is it foolish for me to work toward a journalism degree when the industry is in such bad shape?

I've always been optimistic about the profession, but I'm starting to wonder if I should even bother trying to have a career in it.



A. If you love it, do it.

I see a lot of people who are excited and passionate about journalism in forms that were unimaginable five years ago. At the Communication College's orientation, established students were recruiting for traditional organizations like the campus paper, but also for online magazines, game building, animation, video and audio. There is a lot innovation going on. Get into that.

At a faculty meeting, a colleague talked about how excited recruiters outside of journalism are about the skills that journalism schools teach. This tells me that journalism is a good platform degree. Just as many law school graduates wind up in good jobs that are outside the legal profession, the same can be said for journalism grads.

So, if you have the passion and can tolerate some rapid change (and where is that not happening?), keep going, but look for innovative ways to tell stories and pursue emerging career paths.

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