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Experience vs. college degree

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SEeditor, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    That may be giving us too much credit. In my case, pure luck of applying to right editors, right time.

    First full-time job: SE had no degree.

    Second full-time job: SE was a full-timer well before getting degree.

    Third full-time job: SE had no degree.

    Didn't know any of that before interviewing.
  2. BujuBanton

    BujuBanton Member

    I must say this has been a great thread. I worked as a freelancer for five years and dropped out around the third year because I felt I was learning more in the pressbox and working with editors than in the classroom. Now I'm at a small daily about to complete my first year of full time work. My editor asked me during my interview why I dropped out and I had no real great answer. He said, "So you left school early and went pro?" Made me feel like LeBron James, just without all the money and fame. Until I read this thread I was hesitant to apply for a big daily since I assumed they would throw my resume out once they saw I had no degree. Now I feel more confident thanks folks. And I relate to the Mom thing, mine cried and asked what was wrong with me when I dropped out. I think she's happy I got the job, but not so thrilled my decision was rewarded with a gig
  3. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    I think a degree is more important for the first job than the second or third. After the first one, you've had a chance to prove yourself somewhat.
    I also think that in today's world, there are few reasons not to get one.
    at my place, three of us have degrees, two are in the process of getting them. And our chain, for the most part, really wants you to have a degree.
  4. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Bingo. When I brought in a reporter with six years of experience, the fact he didn't have a journalism degree or a bachelor's of any kind played no role in my decision. If you're good, I want you.
  5. HEST

    HEST New Member

    Give me the 22-year-old who already has four years in the business over the 22-year-old college grad who's only in it for the press box seat and a free hot dog. Of the last four "recent" college grads I've worked with, only one had an ounce of work ethic.
  6. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    hest says skip college, folks, and you'll go straight to the Plain Dealer covering the Browns or the Cavs for that first job. Interesting.
  7. donaugust

    donaugust Member

    That's hardly a stretch. Give me ANYONE over the person who's only in it for the press box seat and a free hot dog. Duh.
  8. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    That's the key. When I left college after a semester, I must have applied for 75 open jobs in a four-month period. I got two newspapers that called me back -- one was a twice-a-week in the same state and one was a daily. I got the gig at the daily, and it's been smooth sailing ever since. Landing that first job, whether you have a degree or not, is difficult. But once you get that first gig, you can move up.
  9. HEST

    HEST New Member

    I'd put my money on the sports editor at JFK High School to work at the Plain Dealer before the J school grads I've worked with the past few years. Best I can tell, if you drive by the local U these days they'll toss a journalism degree through your passenger side window.
  10. HEST

    HEST New Member

    That's the point. Most of these fantasy football/Madden 2007 geeks I encounter just want a free ticket to the game and a spot in the buffet line. How about we at least attempt to break some news every now and then? Can't do that re-writing press releases and gamers.
  11. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    hest, if you can't figure out who's serious about their career coming out of college, maybe you need to rethink your hiring techniques. Anybody who is serious these days about a career in this field will already have some good clips and some good references to go along with a degree. Nobody says you have to hire the first college guy that comes through the door.
    But, I guess in your eyes there aren't any good J-schools out there anymore.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    buju - why would you think hiring eds give two shits about a degree? i care about a potential employee being able to do the job well, and work ethic is the second trait i ask about.
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