Don’t go to journalism school?

JschoolDon’t know if you saw his column Advice to Young Journalists, but Ezra Klein of Vox had some controversial advice about J-school: don’t do it. He wrote,

Don’t go to journalism school. You’re better off just interning, or writing a blog, or reading think-tank papers. When I hire, I see j-school experience as neutral — it doesn’t separate one resume from another in the least. And a lot of journalism schools teach bad habits, and make you pay for the privilege of learning them. Michael Lewis’s takedown of journalism schools, which was published in the New Republic, is worth reading. Letting someone pay you a bit of money to become a journalist, or even pay you nothing at all, is better than paying a j-school a lot of money to become a journalist.”

Personally, I did go to J-school at American University in Washington, but my motives were … perverse.

  • As a Junior, my advisor said, “Jim you need to get off the fence and make a decision about your major.”
  • “What are my options?” I asked.
  • “Well, you have enough history that if you take your Senior year of almost all history courses, you can get a degree in history,” she replied.
  • “What are my other choices?”
  • “Well, you can take all electives in your Senior year and graduate with a journalism degree.”

Now, to be fair to myself, I was working 40 hours a week AND going to school fulltime. What did I do? Well, I didn’t get that history degree. I am the proud bearer of a B.A. in Journalism!

Of course, I also enjoy Ezra Klein’s comment in the same article, about law school. With a nod to my lawyer-son who escaped the law for business:

Whatever you do, just don’t go to law school. At least not unless you’re really sure you want to be a lawyer. And maybe not even then.”

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