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August 22, 2005



hoho, I have a journalism degree. Though the education continues only one year, I feel I was like a new-born with interest to everything. Maybe not good in such a era where people have specified divided job. But it is interesting.


I guess I am somewhere in the middle. I don't have a journalism degree but I received a UK-wide recognised certificate of compentancy at a newspaper-based training centre. I do believe that you mostly learn on the job but there are things that were drilled into me that a few bloggers could do with learning.

Namely the weight of what they are doing and the CHECK CHECK CHECK policy. If in doubt, leave it out. All of that stuff. In addition, it is unlikely that most bloggers will familarise themselves with libel law - simply because they have few assets to be stripped of. As well, of course, as the "it won't happen to me" attitude.

It's healthy on the one level that blogs for the most part exist outside of the parameters of libel. However, it also means that what you read on a blog is more likely to be inaccurate than an established media source. Then again it's commerical and political pressures that frequently dictate the coverage of newspapers and TV.

I would agree that there should be more education regarding news sources and the media in general.

One final thing - all school and university based education is, for the most part, aimed at securing employment. As yet, so few people make a living out of blogging, is it worthwhile for schools to be teaching blogging as a possible career?


Excellent post. Jay Rosen articulates so well what I have tried to say to others during the whole "are bloggers journalists" debate. Journalism is a practice and set of skills that can and should be taught to everyone. Not just so they can become journalists themselves but so they can also view information with an discerning eye and mind.

Omih adds an important note as well, about journalistic ethics and the imperative to verify and attempt to ensure the truth of what is said.

Those concepts were essential components of my j-school education, but I see them sadly lacking in practice--whether in the "mainstream media" or blogosphere.


I'm somewhat in agreement about j-schools being unnecessary, but operating overseas is completely different and language and specialized skills will get you a lot further (or would, if o'seas jobs were as easily available).
For the North American job market educational inflation has made a degree more of a necessity for entry-level positions.
If there are several thousand j-school grads entering the market each year, they will naturally squeeze out non-degreed entrants.
I was practicing before I did a j-school degree, so were many in my class. Aside from arcana about Canadian media law, I didn't learn much new - nor did many others - but for career advancement the MA didn't hurt.
There are primadonnas and kids in j-school who are there because they didn't have the grades for law; but many are there because they are interested in doing journalism and see a degree as a necessity.
Personally, I'm glad I did it. If anything, the alumni contacts were useful when I moved overseas. Plus, my other grad school option was a degree in Latin American studies (and that would have been completely useless in Asia).

Lim Wing Hooi

There are always both sides to a coin, and if you are a journalist, then you would know what it meant by objectivity, and balance news. (No apple pies please!) Alright, there are always some good in education, even mediocre education. But journalism is unique in the sense that, even people without journalsim degrees could do it. And what is surprising is, if you read Betty Medsger's 'Winds of Change,' it show those without journalism degree are the ones who make good journalist material- winning jounalism awards, rising up the newsroom hierarchy, etc etc. So, what do you want a journalism degree for?

But that is not equal to not attending university at all. You may one to attend university but get in depth knwoledge about issues, train your critical mind, socialize with other people, learn more about the world. That should not be equal to taking journalism degree just to get a paper qualification, or because there is no mathematics, or because the subject is relatively easy.

The way I see it, problem with journalism schools, if it operates by the way I desccribed earlier, is preapring their students to fail in the profession.

This is due to the large gap of expectation, between the reality and the safe and easy cushioned university environment.

In my opinion, journalism education is important. Very important. Just the way Joseph Pulitzer justified for the J-school to be built, or how Missouri built the first J-school, their opening speech and mission is no doubt important.

But the reality again is, will j-school be able to meet the objectives? Is it given the free hand to meet those objectives?

The idea of a j-school is good, but maybe because it was way tooooo lofty, it is not achievable. And if it is not, what is the point of having one? Unless j-schools are able to get experience journalist to critically teach the subjects, will our media be truly trustworthy, or even, worth reading?

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