Posted by Brianna Shawhan
After graduating from college, many people pursue a master’s degree so they can have an advantage over other people in their field. But would this be worth it for journalists?
Doing well during college isn’t as much of a worry to journalism students as it is to students who are majoring in biology, business, law, or pharmacy. Once you step into the real world of journalism, no newsroom will ask you for your GPA.
Many journalists believe that graduate school for journalism majors is a waste of time because it won’t give you an advantage over other journalists. What matters is the work you’ve experienced and the clips and skills you’ve gathered.
In her blog, journalism professor Mindy McAdams advises students against getting a graduate degree in journalism:
This post is for your mom and dad, who are pressuring you to go to grad school immediately after undergrad.
I don’t know why your parents think that’s a good idea. Maybe in whatever field they’re in, it’s what people do. Like law. Like medicine. But not in journalism. Not usually.
But not all journalists think graduate school is a completely bad idea. Journalist Walden Siew gave the positives and negatives of obtaining a master’s degree:
1. Experience: If you didn’t gain much experience during undergraduate schooling or if you got your bachelor’s degree in something besides journalism, graduate school could offer you a lot more experience and skills before you get an actual job.
2. Learn from the best: Look for the graduate program that will offer you the best courses and professors. Make sure you don’t get into a graduate program that will teach you what you’ve already learned – you want to add on to your skills.
3. Networking: Going on to graduate school would allow you to meet even more students and professors who could help you later on in your career. Schools also usually have people with more diverse backgrounds than many companies do.
4. Alumni services: Along with alumni from undergraduate school, alumni from graduate school could help you gain more work opportunities.
1. Cost: You’ll need to figure out if graduate school is worth all of the extra money.
2. Experience: Most people learn all they need to know as undergrads and on the job. If you already have a lot of job experience coming out of undergraduate school, then attending graduate school is probably not the right choice for you.
3. Pay: Journalism jobs pay by experience and how well you do, not by how much schooling you have had. Getting a master’s degree will not earn you a higher salary itself.
If you’re dead set on getting a master’s degree, then it would be beneficial to obtain it in another field besides journalism. This way, you’ll have something to fall back on if you can’t get a job in journalism, and you’ll also have skills and knowledge on a topic that many other journalists might not know. Journalists can always use more skills.
Do you think journalism students should get a graduate degree? Why or why not?