(Jas’ note: I’m thrilled to welcome back Jessica Malnik to the blog for a guest post.)
*A bit of a disclaimer: I left the journalism rollercoaster world for the adventures of marketing and PR a year ago. I haven’t looked back since. That being said, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t apply something I learned while at the University of Missouri Journalism School.
Is a journalism degree worthless? I’ve heard this question come up quite a bit over the last couple of months. As more and more traditional media outlets crumble or suffer massive rounds of layoffs, the skeptics come out and immediately question any college student or recent grad- like myself- who majored or is majoring in journalism. I think that’s a real shame.
It’s awful that countless numbers of high school and college students these days are being detracted and sidelined from pursuing a major in journalism. I firmly believe that a journalism degree is just as valuable today, if not more so, than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Here’s three reasons why.
1. The core journalism skills translate well for a lot of careers.
At the very core of journalism, it’s about communicating effectively. To be successful, you have to be articulate and a good writer. Both are very valuable skills at the core of dozens of jobs- from public relations and marketing to engineering and medicine.
Factor in that most journalism students today have at least a basic grasp of multimedia skills, and you have the core foundation to be successful at almost any pursuit.
2. It’s not what you major in that matters, it’s how you choose to use it.
This goes for everything from journalism majors to sociology and classics majors. So many people box themselves inside the parameters of what they decided to major in at college. When in reality, your major is just the foundation for your career. It’s how you choose to apply the core skills that you learned that really matters.
To sum it up, there’s no bad majors. Don’t be afraid to use your journalism degree- or whatever you majored in- in a different way. A journalism student doesn’t have to be a journalist. You can end up being a marketer, PR pro, engineer, lawyer, etc. The sky’s the limit.
3. Journalism breeds curiosity and solid listening skills.
Most people, who major in journalism, have one thing in common. They are all curious about the world around them. They seek out ways to ask questions and listen to the people around them to understand issues and convey messages to a larger audience.
The ability to ask tough questions as well as listen for subtle nuances and clues is an art form. It’s a skill that can take you far in whatever career path that you choose.