Thursday, 23 April 2009

'What are the nutty kids thinking?': Why student journalism is still booming

It is not just in the UK that demand for journalism courses is booming despite the job cuts hitting the media.
James Rainey, in the Los Angeles Times, notes that applications jumped more than 20% this year for the graduate journalism program at USC's Annenberg School for Communication. Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism got 44% more applicants this year than in 2008. Other US journalism schools reported similar increases.
He writes: "For almost $100,000 (including room and board) over two years, USC's graduate journalism program will prepare you for a profession that features low pay, long hours and an uncertain future."
Rainey asks: "So what are these nutty kids thinking?"
He gets his answer from one Annenberg journalism student Adrianna Weingold, 24.
She says: "It's like an adrenaline rush. Every day is different. Every story is different. There are very few careers that let you get out in the world and talk to people and learn something new every day."
Rainey adds:"The young ones may not have the same reporting and writing chops, but they tend to beat the stuffing out of old-timers in their facile use of the Internet for reporting and writing and with their entrepreneurial spirit."
He quotes Jonathan Kotler, an Annenberg professor and chairman of graduate admissions, on student journalists:"They are much less afraid of change. Start-ups don't scare them, they excite them."
Another Addenberg student Chris Nelson,29, said: "I don't think people are feeding us a line when they say this is the most exciting time to be in journalism. It's a ground-floor opportunity to shape how journalism is going to be. . . . We are sort of setting the rules right now."
Story via the Newspaper Project


Josh Halliday said...

I'm just over halfway through a journalism degree at University of Sunderland and, I can confirm, it is a ridiculously exciting time to be a journalist-in-training right now.

There's so many opportunities out there for people with a passion for journalism and reporting to get themselves ahead of the game. Everyone needs to be experimenting and innovating right now.

Set up a blog, an online portfolio, a place to learn, think and evolve with the industry in real-time. Amass a bunch of skills that'll help you report in the most effective way, for the most effective medium.

Get ahead. Experiment. Don't be afraid to fall flat on your face. It really is an exciting time to be a journalist-in-training.

Josh Halliday

Rohan Venkat said...

Yup, I'm one of those Annenberg students (except an undergrad, so it's going to cost more like $200,000...) but I agree with what's been said. Most of us knew what we were getting into when we started the degree, and we're sure someone (maybe some at USC) will find a business model that works. It's still not a great time to graduate, but it will probably never be one for a journalist unless that's something you want to do.