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Anyone not have a journalism background?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mooninite, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    Just curious how many of you out there got into the business but don't have a journalism degree or much of a newspaper background until you got out of college.

    Of the four people on our staff none had journalism degrees. And some would say it shows. Just kidding boys. Actually I'm low man and I've been there 11 years.

    Myself and another guy are Poli Sci guys, another I think was sports management and my editor didn't go to college.

    How did you get into journalism?
  2. Central-KY-Kid

    Central-KY-Kid Well-Known Member

    We have a staff of 3 1/2 (three full-time, one part time). No journo degrees.
  3. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    I worked with a woman where I was a sports writer about four and half years ago who majored in Poli Sci. I had experience, working at newspapers since I was 14. This was her first foray into journalism. She had no clue what she was doing. She had no business working at a newspaper. If she wanted to get into the business, she should have started at a weekly and worked her way up, I thought. Fast forward two and half years later when I returned as a news copy editor/page designer instead of as a sports writer, and she had developed into the best reporter on staff. By far.

    You can go to college and learn a lot of great things. But the real journalism education begins when you work. When people ask me where I went to school, I always tell them I went to the University of the Podunk Press, got my master's degree at the University of Another Newspaper and got my Doctorate at the University of Yet Another Newspaper. I could have gone to school, gotten my degree, shelled out $40,000 grand over four years and gotten a job at a small paper making $21K. I decided to skip the first two and head straight to the $21K. Figured I'd get an education and get paid at the same time.

    Works for some. Doesn't work for others.
  4. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I was a music major in college, but wrote about sports for my high school and student newspaper. I turned writing on Friday night lights into a regular freelance and now staff gig.
  5. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I got a four-year degree in English and worked as a part-timer my senior year in college. Turned that into a news side job and then was traded to the sports department about three months in.
    I agree with poster above that bosses tend to like actual experience more than a journalism degree. At least that is what I have found.
  6. ballparkman

    ballparkman New Member

    Been in the business since 1980 and don't have a degree. Worked part-time for 3 years, took a full-time job at a very, very small daily and returned to the paper where I had worked part-time as a full-timer 3 years later. Been there ever since.
  7. bballscribe

    bballscribe Member

    I don't have a journalism background. I wrote 2 years for my high school paper and a semester for my college paper. Didn't take any journalism classes or anything else. I was "discovered" writing game recaps for the Rockets at a fan site, worked my way up from intern researcher at a local daily, and now I'm the SE for a group of 5 weekly newspapers in NW Houston with a circulation of 93,000.
  8. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    I took journalism in high school. In college I studied poetry. After college I worked construction and then got a job in a library. I found an interesting story, wrote it up, sold it, and have never been without an assignment, if I wanted one, ever since - that was twenty years ago - or without a book contract since 1990. Never worked for a newspaper or magazine, freelance since 1993.

    There are many ways to get somewhere.
  9. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    I'll be less of a journalist if I stay at my shop much longer. So I'm sort of working backwards to what you're talking about.
  10. Kamaki

    Kamaki Member

    I have no journalism background.

    I was a history major, but I did take a sports writing class in college. I left saying that I'd never be a sportswriter.

    I've now been a sportswriter for almost 15 years.

    Oh well.
  11. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I didn't have a degree for a long while. I finally went to college starting at 22.

    While the degree itself is overrated, the college experience -- no, not just the drinking -- is underrated.
  12. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    I had no degree and did pretty well for myself. It was hard work and long hours that got me recognized and pushed through the chain of small weeklies and dailies.

    Ended up at about a 35K daily and was the No. 2 guy on the desk when I quit to head back to school.
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