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Graduate school options

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WaylonJennings, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Just wondering if we could get a little discussion going on the merits of different routes. Obviously everybody is different in their passions and goals, etc., etc., but just want to see what everyone thinks as I ponder the next 30-40 years. Let's just assume for argument's sake that you can get into one of these:

    Option A
    A journalism masters at Columbia, give it one more ride and go for the big, big, big time.

    Option B
    Law degree at a big-name, top-10 school

    Option C
    Law degree at a lesser school, but on full scholarship and done part-time so you can keep working in this business

    Option D
    MFA creative writing program

    Option E
    MBA at a top-10 business school

    Option F
    Start on the PhD route in something like English or political science, etc., etc.

    Option G
    Get really crazy and try to become a doctor

    And, of course, Option H - ride this newspaper wave until it kicks you off.
  2. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Option G would be the most worthwhile use of those next 30-40 years, if you can handle the science. And the blood.
    Option E would give you the most options after this set of options.
    Option T, if you had one, would be nice.
    Option O, also, would be a good one.
    Option U, likewise.
    Option T, one more time, for sure.
    And what does it spell?
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I hate to say it, but I agree with everything he just said... In these days you have to be insane to go into journalism... You'd be better off selling albums or VHS tapes door-to-door...
  4. OK, but I'm already relatively established, that's the thing. I think that's where it becomes tough - late 20s/early 30s, you seem to be on a decent trajectory. Too old to give it five more years, still too young to say, "I gave it my best shot and it didn't happen."
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Options A, D and F are the ones that would appeal to me personally the most.

    Having said that, if you're already in journalism and you already have contacts, what more good would a journalism master's do you ESPECIALLY if you have a BA or a BS in journalism? I'm not saying you do, but if you did, there'd be no value to it because you'd already know what they teach the graduate school kids.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Yeah, but then you can teach after your paper folds or you're forced to take a buyout in a few years... ;D

    But, other than that, graduate school for journalism will seem completely worthless...
  7. 1. Teaching.
    2. Taking reporting to the next level. When you look at what people at the NY Times or other Pulitzer-winning papers do - the guys who spend a year doing one investigative story or serial narrative - oftentimes those are people who come out of a place like Columbia. I don't think it's just about the piece of paper.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Actually, now that you mention it ...

    Personally, I get a lot out of helping my interns and reporters develop as journalists. A LOT. I had a high school kid who started working with me in late July/early August and he made a quantum leap in his journalism writing from his first story for my paper to his second. I'd sent him one detailed e-mail with feedback and suggestions and he seemed to learn a lot from it.

    Maybe that's one thing I should think about doing...
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I have my Masters and have been offered several teaching gigs, but I can't in good conscience teach journalism when I would want to tell the whole class to run as far away as they can from the business...
  10. So are you in it for good?

    I've logged an LSAT score for safekeeping, and I'll tell you, every day I ponder what the right direction for the future is. I want to be a writer in one way or another. The exposure you get from being a columnist is such a daily charge - I don't know if you can replicate that. On the other hand, we know all the downsides, as well.

    I know we've had a million of these threads, but I think they're usually separate. An MBA thread. A law school thread. etc., etc. I wanted to kind of toss them all into the fray to see how they stack up.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'll bet half of the writers my age (33) are beginning to explore other options... If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I'll retire in this business, now I don't think that will be the case...
  12. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    Waylon, I'm nearly in the same boat. I'm coming up on 30, been doing this full-time since I was 21 and am starting to realize that I have no connections, so I'd probably spend my career on the fringes of the big time.
    I'm thinking of applying to a big-ticket journalism grad school (Northwestern, Columbia) in the hopes of developing some of those connections, or getting an MFA in creative writing so I could teach.
    Either way, I want to spend a little more time honing my craft. Here, it's feeding the beast daily, and I haven't turned out anything of which I'm really proud for a long goddamn time.
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