Thursday, September 04, 2008

j-school not right for everybody

It's a common question among those looking to break into magazines: Do I need a journalism degree? Well, no. You'll benefit from being schooled in something, but it needn't be in magazines. If you already have a degree, grad school (usually) isn't worth the time and money (Ed2010 explains why); instead, a continuing education program such as what Ryerson has to offer, paired with an internship or two will serve you just as well, if not better. As Lewis Lapham said, the connections you make in school are what make a degree worthwhile – the best way to learn is by doing. So, make your connections in classes at night and learn on the job during the day. It's what I did, and I've done all right for myself.

1 comment:

Jaclyn said...

I agree with this post. After finishing my English degree at U of T, I did the magazine publishing certificate (as it used to be called) at Ryerson, and it was great! After I'd started working in the industry, I had the opportunity to do the master's of journalism program at Western. I sought advice from a couple of magazine professionals whom I respect, and even as he agreed to write me a recommendation letter for the application, one of them (a contact I'd made while studying at Ryerson) told me not to bother with grad school - it was better to keep working. The general thinking seems to be that journalism school is strictly optional, and a well-rounded background in other subjects is equally (if not more) important. (In the end, I didn't go back to school, and I don't regret it.)