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|| Member Message Board

"Journalism Is the Worst 4-Year College Investment"
Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 7:31 PM on 06.10.13
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Murfreesboro | TN | U.S. | Posted: 8:42 AM on 06.11.13
->> I was able to use my journalism background of writing and design in obtaining my current job as a process analyst. Journalism may be the worst investment toward a journalism career, but the transferrable skills are invaluable. If you can communicate well, you can do just about anything.
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 10:44 AM on 06.11.13
->> This has to be one of the more inane articles I've read about the state of journalism grads.

"Journalists are also terrible at writing, compared to sailors."

"Journalism is dead, anyway—news is created by blogs and NSA leakers and press releases."

And my favorite:

"Add the insecurity and shame associated with the reporting life"

Shame? Really?

I can't tell if the author is being serious, or if he just doesn't understand how to use satire.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 12:03 PM on 06.11.13
->> Yeah, forget that guy.

I was a journalism major and I loved it (Cal Poly SLO, woo!)

I think the author is bitter. I believe in what I do and know it's important.

I'm also a reporter for our newspaper and cover crime, investigative stories and some feature writing.

Also, I'm very tired of people saying journalism is dead. Story-telling is hardly dead, but the format is changing for sure. Just because newspapers may be in decline, crime, politics and sports still happen and someone needs to be there to cover it and tell the story.

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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 12:24 PM on 06.11.13
->> Wannabees who couldn't make it in the business will always say "journalism is dead". I didn't go to the link because it just gives morons who write that dribble hits. Nothing new here, move along.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 1:11 PM on 06.11.13
->> It actually comes from a Bankrate.Com study ( on the ROI (return on investment) for various degrees and how long it would take a graduate to repay a college loan.

For example, pharmacist = 10.83 years, public relations specialist = 14.67 years and journalist = 31.83 years.

I thought it was interesting.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 06.11.13
->> I saw this yesterday, and the story was blah. But I think the study it references has a lot of merit: (Chuck, it's safe to click on this link).

The point isn't that journalism is dead. Or that sailors are better writers. The writer lost his message with his delivery. The point is that taking out student loans to finance a journalism degree is moronic. The study says that based on average salaries and average tuition costs, a 6% interest rate and a 10%-of-income repayment, it will take a journalist almost 32 years to pay off their student loans.

If you want to be a reporter, that's great. But you can diversify your skill set, get a degree in something else and get your journalism skills working at the student paper and taking internships.

Want to be a photojournalist? Get a degree in finance or business or marketing or something else that will help you run your freelance business, because that's probably what you will ultimately do: be a freelance photographer. Then, if you decide that being a photographer isn't the best idea, you have a degree in another field that will help immensely when you look for a different line of work.

Nic, it's great that you're writing (and writing on a variety of subjects) as well as gives you another skill set that sets you apart from other candidates at whatever future jobs you apply for.

I have a photo-j degree. But I also took a lot of classes at school that were a waste of time and money. I could put together a two year plan (instead of four) with a core group of classes that would have given me a vast majority of the skill set I graduated with.

With state legislatures cutting funding, schools aren't cutting spending. They're just raising tuition rates, and at the same time, building facilities that attract students like better dorms, better dining halls and great rec centers. I hope that by the time my future children are deciding on schools, major universities have developed fast-track plans that include the quality of classes they offer but without all the gen-ed requirements that students spend most of their tuition money on.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 1:31 PM on 06.11.13
->> What Michael Mc said.

What's funny is that my degree is in news writing and reporting. I've never taken a photo class in my life... Do the math on that one. But I've always wanted to work for newspapers, so there's that.

What I tell students now who ask is to learn business skills, professionalism and good attitude. Anyone can learn the technical.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 6:01 AM on 06.12.13
->> Supply and demand. Something that most journalists haven't understood since the days of Pulitzer and Hearst. The point is not that Nic Coury-types can and do flourish; but that for every Nic Coury, there are three or four journalism grads who are "working" for blogs earning $25 a story (if that) or flipping burgers.

Looking at individual experiences and drawing conclusions isn't the way to analyze the market. Speaking of doing the math...I was a math major as an undergrad. I have an (arguably) successful career as a flak. Does that mean either that 1) math is great preparation for a career in PR or 2) that the PR business is flourishing? Neither is particularly true; like journalism, there are multiple "communications" graduates out there for every "communications" job in today's economy.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 1:46 PM on 06.12.13
->> Someone has to flip burgers I guess...

Thanks for the words, Chuck.

I think there's that good and bad way of doing stuff in every profession out there, people not working for their best business practices and not understanding the value of what they produce.

As pros who do subscribe to good business practices—professionalism, honesty and kindness, etc.—we can scream and yell and lead a horse to water all we want, but some people just aren;t going to get it.

The way I understand it is that I can only promote my ideals in this business by example in how I work and promote myself and hopefully that rubs off on other shooters, both seasoned colleagues and upcoming students, etc.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 8:04 AM on 06.14.13
->> Nic - That can go a long way, but it ignores the whole supply-and-demand aspect of the equation. Cartels don't work very well when there is an enormous glut of the commodity you provide. Only so many highest-quality buggy whips that people will buy...
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Thread Title: "Journalism Is the Worst 4-Year College Investment"
Thread Started By: Jim Colburn
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