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Looking for a journalism grad school
February 23, 2007, 1:28 pm
Filed under: education, journalism, journalists

I hope some of the readers of this blog can lend a hand and provide some advice to another reader, who is looking for a graduate program to supplement her journalism skills. Here’s what she wrote in the comments:

Right out of college, I jumped into journalism and spent five years as a public radio and daily newspaper reporter. Now I’m taking a break and traveling, since I don’t see a future in the traditional print newsroom. I know I can get a job, but with staffing cuts and the constant elimination of important beats, I think I’m unlikely to find a job I want. So after this long preface, I’m wondering — do you know of good journalism programs (preferably in the northeast) that focus on skills necessary for online and freelance reporting? I am hopelessly short on these skills and finally, after years of denial, I’m convinced I need them.

I know of several schools where she can beef up her online skills — but what about training for the life of a freelancer? Another reader (commenting on the same post here) wrote:

Small business entrepreneurship and management is the other new toolkit J schools are leaving out. As journalism is decentralized and more reporters work as free agents, it’s not enough to manage a “career” working full time for others; most journalism jobs will be outside the corporate firewall.

So you’ll need to know all those non-editorial skills: how to be a business person, how to market yourself and your work product, how to build and sustain professional networks, budgeting, professional service bookkeeping, buying health benefits, intellectual property licensing and contract law basics, liability insurance, supervision and team building, the laws of reporting in international jurisdictions.

In this new world, aren’t these survival skills?

Any suggestions? Please post in the comments, or e-mail me privately.

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3 Comments so far
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Colleges in general are leaving out basic financial education. It just amazes me that students are required to take classes in all sorts of obscure subjects, yet many graduate without understanding investments, risk, consumer credit and basic financial principles. Basic financial education should be a component of a good liberal arts education. It’s not a j-school problem; it’s a university-wide problem.

Comment by Danny Sanchez

I am at Indiana University, not in the J-school but I can tell you a little bit about what is here. In the Journalism masters program there are a few online courses Internet and Media of the Future and two design courses that are undergrad senior level but the professor does allow masters students to take the class for master’s credit. I am not sure if it would work in the Journalism masters program or not.

There is also a Journalism (Master of Arts) and Master of Library Science combination degree. The library science school is also very interested in things that relate well to online and user centered design.

I am doing a Masters in Human Computer Interaction Design within the School of Informatics. I was one of Mindy’s students my BS is in Journalism with a concentration in Online Media.

In my program we work a lot with user centered design and design theory which can be easily applied to online. This degree is fairly open and you could easily take 5 Journalism classes as your electives. It is a different approach but I am pretty sure they would let you do it. Our last year of the 2 year program we do a capstone project instead of a thesis. This can be pretty much anything you are interested in doing.

As far as the freelance end with any of these degrees you would probably have to pick up some business classes to get that but none of them would be targeted to freelance. The business school is sort of strange in that their classes only run half a semester. So to get a full 3 credits out of the business school you end up taking two classes in one semester just not concurrently.

A few links:

Journalism Masters Program
http://www.journalism.indiana.edu/academics/MA.html

Journalism (Master of Arts) and Master of Library Science
http://www.slis.indiana.edu/degrees/joint/jour.html

Human Computer Interaction Design Master’s
http://www.informatics.indiana.edu/hcid/students/#MS

If you are interested in the HCI route I’d be happy to talk to you about it more in private just pick up my contact info off of my link.

Comment by Jamie

I find myself in a similar boat as the quoted commentor, out of the newsroom and on the road, also pondering grad school. Lately I’ve been stuck on a related question: Would it be more useful to get a masters in journalism or to find a specialization and focus on that, say economics or a language or international relations. How much of J-school is going to be technical training I can pick up elsewhere, and what can’t I get anywhere else?

Comment by Chris




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