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Work Experience or Masters of Journalism???

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Kettner, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Kettner

    Kettner New Member

    Really good advice so far. Thanks! I'm definitely look into SAIT (because I'm out west) and Ryerson (because I've heard a lot of good things about it) - however, just a couple of notes.

    I'm not "done" my B.A. until April of this year - so I still have lots of time to get clips and whatnot. I have also made some key contacts at local papers where I believe I'd be able to get a job...if I wanted to stay in Alberta where I'm currently in school - but I'd prefer to go to B.C. where I've grown up and would like to live in my future.

    But yeah, keep giving the input - it's already given me a few options that I never really thought about.
  2. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Don't count out TRU in Kamloops ... my best friend's husband is the chair of the department. He's formerly one of the top guns from Parliament Hill. If you can learn from him, you'll learn the business.
  3. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    Fuck journalism and go learn Arabic. You'll be making a fortune before you know it.
  4. Double J

    Double J Active Member

  5. audreyld

    audreyld Guest

    Seriously, man. Make this an easy decision. Work hard now, get a job, and in a year or two see if you need to bolster your education.

    Best of luck.
  6. I did the grad school thing and loved it. It was a great experience for me, especially considering that my background was in communications, not journalism. I had great newspaper internships both summers. And (after a few months of unemployment after my last internship ended) got a good magazine job.

    That said, I'll second what others have posted. Don't go straight from undergrad to grad school if you want to go to a journalism master's program. Get some kind of professional experience in the field you're interested in (even if it's indirect experience). Some programs won't even look at you, anyway, if you've just graduated. Also, you need to know what the program can offer you. Mine was a mix of practical and research, which I enjoyed because it helped me put a lot of things I was doing in context. Some of my classmates didn't like it b/c they were expecting all practical.

    Go work for a couple of years and, then, if you think grad school will help you get where you want to be, go for it. Just know what you're getting into.
  7. doublej

    doublej New Member

    Anyone will tell you that experience and networking are the best ways to get ahead in this business, but here's what I know about graduate students that went to my school. Most of them majored in non-journalism related subjects as an undergrad, and either had a change of heart or didn't have any journalism experience to speak of. For them, it was a one-year program where they learned everything that the undergrads were taught in four years. So it was a good way for them to catch up in a year -- if you can afford another go-round of school.

    When you start looking for a job this spring I'd take a long look at your clips and be honest with yourself. If you can land the job you want without the grad school, you could always go back down the road. But most people I know who majored in English as undergrads were a bit clueless when it came to journalism. So if you don't have a ton of experience, graduate school is a good option and you'll become a better writer quickly.
  8. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Chad, I think I'm going to echo what UT said. I have another reason for it, too.

    After four years of undergrad, you tack on another two years of master's work directly behind it, and you fall into the dangerous territory of becoming a "career student." You see them every day ... people who have become so comfortable in the college cocoon that they feel uneasy outside it, and they're ineffective in the professional world because of it.

    Stretch your wings and try something different before going for the master's.
  9. Corky Ramirez up on 94th St.

    Corky Ramirez up on 94th St. Well-Known Member

    As someone who, upon graduating with an undergrad degree eight years ago, vowed never to step foot in a classroom again, and is today one class shy of getting a masters in journalism, I'll say this: You're never too old to go back to college.

    My advice is go with work experience. For as much as I rail against my present employer, it's given me plenty of opportunities to cover a wide array of things and I learned so much from people in the biz. I worked with people who have masters degrees, and they were on the same level with me. So getting a masters to only work at a daily for the rest of your life perhaps is not the best idea.

    I went back to grad school nearly three years ago (Quinnipiac in Connecticut...a very good, and underrated, J-school) and have taken one or two classes each semester, because I would like to teach journalism in college at some point. I think if you have those same aspirations, do it. But get the work experience first. That way, when you've got, say, five years of reporting experience under your belt, you can go into these grad classes and get much more out of them than if you only had cursory knowledge of how the media works. Plus, some employers offer partial tuition reimbursement, so that also helps.
  10. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Chad, you're in my area ... if you'd like to talk about the business live, PM and I'll send you my phone number. I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.
  11. JackS

    JackS Member

    Another vote here for not going straight from undergrad degree to grad school. Six years in between for me.

    And I was just like Corky. Vowed to never again set foot in a classroom. I still catch hell for that. And also like Corky, I'd eventually like to teach.
  12. Kettner

    Kettner New Member

    Wow, they look like they have a terrific program! I'm for sure going to leave my options open and apply there - really impressive course selection. Also - the Post-Baccalaureate Program looks great - done in one extra year (and 12 week internship).

    I've really appreciated all the advice and am going to be working my butt off this year to get clips and freelance work - but I'm also strongly considering a 1 or 2 year diploma - more than a masters program (because I don't think my undergrad English really prepares me for Graduate Journalism).
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