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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.


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