Journalism School: The $20,000 Press Pass?

The Columbia Journalism Review recently noted that while the number of newspaper jobs is decreasing steadily, enrollment in graduate schools of journalism is climbing. It seems more people want to become journalists even though the profession is becoming an increasingly unmarketable product. Or is it?


Earlier this year, Big Think interviewed a senior editor at Harper’s Magazine, Bill Wasik, about the future of journalism (school). He compares J-School to MFA programs for creative writers: it gives you time and space to practice your craft and surrounds you with like-minded people. But is it worth the price? Wasik’s answer starts at 4:00.

Journalism school graduates who commented on the CJR story prized the abilities they learned, such as thinking critically about a story and knowing how to pursue it, which enabled them to become more than just the newsroom journalist. Ghost writer, teacher and editor were some of the roles they have come to occupy since taking their degree.

Yours truly has been a victim of the media shift toward free content. Catalonia Today, a newspaper I wrote for in Barcelona, closed their physical shop for a free, online one. Fortunately, I wasn’t out the cost of graduate school. My entry into the world of journalism was a desire to write well while telling people about things I thought were interesting.

That’s a pretty good way to make a buck, and journalism school might tell you how to make two or three more.

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

Sponsored
  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.