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CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by egm, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. egm

    egm New Member

    Hey everyone,

    I was hoping for some educational/career advice.

    I've been out of journalism for several months now. Just recently I graduated from a state school in California with a degree in history and a minor in journalism. I've completed several internships in print/online and radio. My last internship ended in September and haven't been able to get hired.

    So I began thinking of attending a journalism school in New York (CUNY) or in California (Berkeley) in hopes of modernizing my skills as a journalist but also perhaps to make me much more marketable to employers in the future. I recently applied.

    There is a lot of technical stuff I need to improve on that my undergraduate school did not teach. Basically, I would like to find out whether J-school is worth the risk. I hear CUNY is really good and a bargain for out of state students. Plus, doing journalism in NYC would look nice on my resume.

    Or should I hold off on grad school just to make sure where my career is headed.

  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    1.How much does it cost?

    2. Who is paying?

    3. Does it have a history of placing students in graduate internships or jobs? Are there professors with real world practical experience and contacts who can help get you clips and resume in front of people who you'd actually wish to work for even if they had an opening?

    Start by answering those questions. If you don't know the answers, do some reporting and get back to us.
  3. egm

    egm New Member

    Yes, I forgot to add that

    Out of state tuition is roughly $11,000 a year. It is a three-semester program leading to an MA in journalism. Students must choose a specialization such as international reporting, urban reporting, business and economics reporting, and arts and culture reporting.

    CUNY places students in to some of NYC's finest news organizations. One of the requirements for graduation is a paid summer internship at a media company (print/online/radio/TV). It has build a good reputation as far as J-schools go, and is a cheaper alternative to NYU and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, which cost $51,000 a year. I am not blowing that kind of money on a journalism degree no matter how prestigious the institution is.

    I figured money from grants, scholarships, part-time work, and my parents would take care of attending CUNY. Going to Berkeley would be cheaper because I am a Bay Area resident. But the thought of living in NYC for 3 semesters while hammering stories, learning new technical skills (multimedia, blogging, social media), and developing contacts and networking could pay off in the long run.

    I've had some professors say 'go for it' and others say 'not worth it' or 'hold off and take the wait and see approach.'
  4. You mean student loans instead of grants?

    I'd try to get marketing experience. You also don't need a master's degree to learn blogging and social media skills
  5. If you have a wealthy parent (not hating, just being honest) who is willing to pay for your graduate education, then by all means go for it. And doing it in a place NYC or Berkeley sounds cool.

    But if you are going to have to pay for it yourself or take on (more) debt to attend school, DO NOT DO IT!!!!!

    Graduate school is not a place for learning practical skills to help you become a better journalist. You may acquire some along the way, but that will be largely accidental.

    Go to Lynda.com to take self-improvement classes. Talk to a career counselor about things you can do to become more marketable. But for heaven's sake, don't take on the albatross of more debt to get a piece of paper that is increasingly losing its value.
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    All of that is correct, in my opinion. Taking on considerable debt for a degree that could make you only somewhat more marketable/connected in a business that pays poorly doesn't seem like a great idea. However, if you're not taking on considerable debt and you're getting a graduate degree (and the knowledge and experience and connections that come with it) then you're still investing in yourself, even if journalism doesn't work out.

    A lot of people here trash the idea of going to graduate school for journalism. I understand why they feel that way, but if you're not taking on a financial burden for it, you're going to get something out of it. A graduate degree often means you're qualified for teaching positions you wouldn't otherwise be up for. It means you're more marketable if you want to apply for a public relations job or a job working in the media relations department of a hospital, a university, a foundation, etc. I know a woman who was not a very good journalist at all. I'd look at her copy and cringe. But she went to Columbia for graduate school and now works in public relations for a wealthy foundation. A graduate degree in journalism does not pigeonhole you into working only in journalism forever. If Berkley is cheaper, I wouldn't rule it out. (Then again, I can't speak to the cost of living in either place.) A graduate degree from Cal Berkley makes you pretty marketable in a lot of fields. If you're out-going and somewhat shameless about making connections, that and your talent will determine whether you make it or not, not the connections you made in college working in New York City.

    What I would also add is that time dedicated solely to bettering your mind -- intensive focus on reading, writing, learning -- has considerable value. It's rare that you'll ever have the time to go back and get that knowledge, at least not in that intense burst. The financial realities of life make it harder and harder to carve out that time with each passing year. Especially if you can, say, be on your parents health insurance now, something you probably couldn't do five years from now.

    Only you can weigh what you think those years are "worth." Whatever your decision is, go all in and work extremely hard if this is what you want. You may have to work really hard for very little pay, and understand that it might not result in light at the end of the tunnel. But all you can control is how focused you are on getting what you want.
  7. JackS

    JackS Member

    Yes and yes. I teach there. I can give you contacts for former students who I bet would tell you they're very happy.

    That said, I won't shill.

  8. BobSacamano

    BobSacamano Member

    I know of one person who graduated from the program in the last few years, and he landed a job with a major national magazine. Arguably, the national magazine. But that opportunity presented itself following an internship, so I'd argue that it would have been there for him eventually with or without the CUNY degree. But he has an MA and a full-time job, and I freelance with a BA in Journalism from a CUNY school not known for journalism, so maybe don't trust me.
  9. Good comments from DoubleDown...and I certainly don't mean to disparage anyone with a graduate degree.

    But I see too many people just buried in student loan debt. It's one thing if you're studying to become a physician and will make a ton of money and live happily ever after. But if you're in our business (or even a related field), I think you have to do a much stricter and more realistic cost-benefit analysis of graduate school.
  10. JackS

    JackS Member

    If it's the person I think you're talking about, the internship was part and parcel of attending the school.
  11. egm

    egm New Member

    Plain and simple, I feel obtaining a Master's in anything (whether its liberal arts, business, or science) will make me standout from other applicants, especially ones who only have a bachelor's degree. The BA, to me, is the new high school diploma. Everyone I know has one, and they are working for minimal wage. People say graduate school should be for those who want to get into law, business, medicine. That's all great and dandy but I like journalism. I don't want to be a lawyer or a teacher or an entrepreneur or a doctor. I want to be a journalist! I guess I could major in something else while in grad school, like political science, history, or Latin American studies. These subjects interest me. But the problem is I won't be obtaining clips or gaining work experience in journalism. At least an MA in journalism allows be to buy some time to figure it all out. I will be getting work published. I will be learning and honing new skills that will make me more attractive to news organizations. The student debt situation is concerning. That's why I am reluctant to hold off a year or two before pursuing it. I'm afraid that I may postpone it for a long time if I don't go soon.
  12. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    I just think it's really cool that Electronic Gaming Monthly posts here.
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