1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Are college graduates that unprepared?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Stitch, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I started graduate school a few weeks ago. Finished my first class, an accelerated online course. A classmate asked for tips on writing a few short critiques of journal articles. I assume I'm not alone in noticing many college graduates can't write a coherent paragraph (or sentence). I shudder to think what college-level papers look like at for-profit schools.
  2. crimsonace

    crimsonace Well-Known Member

    There are A LOT of college grads who can't write.

    There's a reason why, even as print journalism is a dying industry, there will always be a need for us. We can write in complete sentences with correct grammar and spelling.

    I'm consistently amazed at the number of my colleagues in education who can't spell.
  3. But if no one but a journalist can write well, do the rest of the people care? It's been my experience that they can't read well, either.
  4. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    And also, people in journalism aren't always the greatest writers. It's a profession that puts as much emphasis on speed, social skills (cultivating sources) and patience (sitting through meetings) as opposed to pure writing ability.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    1) There is always someone who can read it and notice the difference. A lot of someones, usually.

    2) You are missing the boat on "writing ability" in this context. It is not referring to the quality or emotional depth of the prose. It is referring to subject-verb agreement, that vs. which, where the comma goes, and other things journalists take for granted but actually are not well understood at all. And speed is a very important part of that too. Personally speaking, I have found a niche where I make good money correcting the grammar of engineers, systems analysts and other people who might understand the theory of relativity but would be scared to death to write 300 words about it.
  6. Wenders

    Wenders Well-Known Member

    After six months of working at a library and having to interact with all sorts of people, I am now of the opinion that the downfall of our society will come from the lack of reading comprehension skills in most human beings.
  7. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    What's really fun is when one of those engineer/scientist types decides he/she wants to get a PhD and you're the fortunate soul who gets to oversee the dissertation. Nothing's more depressing than looking in your mailbox and seeing 40 fresh pages of what you know will be just awful writing
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    What do you do when you get 40 pages of awful writing?
  9. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    In the early stages, you might make the first few pages bleed and then toss it back with the comment, "Quit wasting my time with this %@^*!" In the latter stages, when you're worn out with one another, you just plow through it with a red pen and try to get the student the hell out of your hair. Some of my colleagues believe we should require of PhD students that they hire outside editors. I'm not necessarily in support of that idea, but as the years go by I am warming up to it.

    It wasn't until I was writing my dissertation that I realized how valuable my writing skills/journalism experience was. I could crank out two to three pages of workable stuff a day -- remember, this wasn't newspaper copy I was writing -- and while the content might draw fire, the mechanics of that content were almost never at issue*.

    *Although there was one point at which my dissertation chair put me on a strict "vis-a-vis" quota -- no more than one use per 20 pages.
  10. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    If you're willing to extend your job search beyond journalism, you'll be amazed by the number of organizations that will love you because you can synthesize information for the purpose of stringing together simple, understandable sentences. We live in a world of constant communication, so those who know how to communicate are very, very valuable, and very, very rare.
  11. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    For those looking at grad school, your writing skills could put you on the top of the list for graduate assistantships. Instead of doing administrative assistant work, as other GAs do, I'm usually doing research, proofreading and writing content for various campus publications. Working 20 hours per week in a GA position is much better than paying full price for school.
  12. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    Hey, don't look at me. My final year as SE at our college paper, we got ranked in the top three in the country by SPJ. We could write!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page