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IUPUI Sports Journalism

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by grapp08, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. grapp08

    grapp08 New Member

    I just applied for the MA program in sports journalism at IUPUI, anyone have any thoughts about the school? I live pretty far away so I wasn't able to visit in person but from the research I did it seemed like a pretty awesome program.Any alums in the house?
  2. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I am an actual real-live IUPUI alum, but well before this program ever existed. So I can't speak about the program, but I can speak about Indianapolis being a great, great place to learn sports journalism. You have a lot of major pro, college and amateur events there to cut your teeth on covering big stuff, plus a lot of opportunities for good features to do some great one-on-one pieces. The city, its teams and events are generally very accessible, compared to larger burgs. And, you have the ogre known as the NCAA just across the White River from campus.

    The school itself is mostly commuter, though that's changed some since I went there. There is a ton of great housing near campus, and the city is relatively easy to get around by car. (Public transport -- not so good.) There is no on-campus nightlife scene to speak of, but you have options all over the city for that. As a grad student, presumably you're less interested in proximity to a bar with frequent beer-pong nights.
  3. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    I'm not an alumn, but you can't get lost in that town. If you do, you are an idiot. LOL

    Indy is awesome! Love that town. Make sure to hit up Slippery Noodle...great blues/jazz bar. Heck, Clapton will swing by just to jam when he is in town.

    IUPUI is a great campus.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Indianapolis is great, but I'd question the wisdom of getting a masters in something as specific as "sports journalism." It's a bad industry to begin with, and it seems really limiting to spend time and money on a degree in something that ultra-specialized. And it's tough to justify getting a journalism graduate degree of any sort whatsoever that is not at a school either located in New York City or one that serves as a pipeline to the New York City media.

    I mean, are there masters degrees available in education journalism? Or crime journalism? Or legal journalism (actually, I think Missouri does offer this)? Or science journalism? Or political journalism?

    Why sports journalism? I don't get it.
  5. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    I love Indianapolis as well (it is an underrated city), but I have to agree with Mr. Whitman here. Unless you can show me a specific career path that this degree with help you achieve, I don't see the value. Where are IUPUI sports journalism grads getting hired at? At what salary? Is that where you want to be or do you just want to be someplace different than where you are?
  6. Hopefully you land an assistantship to afford the program
  7. Grapp,

    Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions about the IU program (it's at IUPUI, but technically an IU program). I'm a graduate of that program, and a believer in its value. It paid off very nicely for me: An internship at Sports Illustrated that led to continued freelance work with them, and a job as a magazine feature writer making 30 percent more than my last newspaper job. I've also stayed in the program as an adjunct professor, which I greatly enjoy and would have a tough time doing without my master's degree. But my experience is not going to be the norm for every student. Some may do better; some may struggle. And that's the thing about grad school you have to consider: The value, or lack of value, is determined by individual situations, your long-term goal, how you think grad school will help you reach them, and whether you take advantage of the opportunities available while you're in the program.

    You want to ask yourself: What do you want to want to get out of the program? What do you think it can provide that professional experience alone won't provide? In my situation, I worked in newspapers for 10 years, but started feeling like the path up was starting to look blocked. I was getting frustrated and felt vulnerable to the economic erosion of the industry. So I decided I needed to try something different and think outside the box to open new career options. I decided on the grad school path because I thought it would give me a chance to build a new network at a higher level, and maybe let me capitalize on my professional experience in a different way.

    But I cannot stress enough that this was not a "grad school will answer all my problems because I'll have a master's degree" solution. I looked at the master's degree as an added benefit to the other opportunities grad school presented. Namely, I knew the relationships the IU program had with major professional and news organizations would help open the doors I was struggling to open on my own. I knew I would have advocates in the program who could help me get noticed by organizations who otherwise might never hear my name. And I was right. Within a few months I was interning at SI (who I still occasionally freelance for), and before I'd even graduated I'd landed a new full-time job with a significant pay raise and a career ceiling that I felt was much higher.

    Prospective students in the program have often asked my advice on whether to go to grad school, and my answer is always the same: maybe. Not everybody is going to share my experience. The benefits are not guaranteed, and a master's degree alone won't change your career path. But if you already have some professional experience, and you can see how other opportunities the program offers will open some doors that you're already struggling to open, then it's definitely worth considering. Just don't expect it to be the answer to all your dreams. Grad school is what you make of it.

    Now, to answer the questions of where are IU students getting hired, I can tell you there has been a pretty strong placement between the Arizona Cardinals, the NCAA, the Big Ten Network, the Indianapolis Star, the IRL, and a number of other smaller papers, college athletics departments, and other organizations. I've seen students come into the program without experience and get jobs specifically because of the connections they've made in the program. Others left jobs at newspapers and magazines to come to the program, and left with jobs at metro newspapers or national organizations. I can only assume they're making significantly more money.

    Other people on this board will have different opinions and won't be in favor of it. But from my personal experience, I can say without question that it was a great move for me, and I encourage others to consider it. But it's up to you to evaluate whether this will be the best move for you as well.
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