Close the J-Schools, writes Richard Sine on Huffington Post. He’s got a point.
Shocking news from the halls of academia: Forbes reported earlier this year that enrollment in graduate journalism schools is booming. These kids are paying upwards of $70,000 (the cost of Columbia’s J-School, including living expenses) for a ghost’s chance of landing a job, at pitiful pay, in an industry that is rapidly collapsing. What’s going to be the next hot field in graduate study? Blacksmithing?
. . . Journalism is not a profession like engineering, medicine or even law. You can pick up most media skills on the job, or with a few hours of instruction. If you screw up, nobody dies, and nothing collapses. This is why so many — perhaps most — journalism pros have built successful careers without touching J-school, and why many of them considered a J-degree a dubious credential even in the field’s heyday.
True, true, true.
J-school enrollees think they’ll make contacts that will help them get jobs. But the schools are staffed with “old-media refugees who made the desperate leap onto J-school faculties in response to buyouts or layoffs,” Sine writes. They don’t know anybody to call who’s still got a job. And they don’t know much about online media, which is the future — if there is one — for young journalism grads.
Many of my former San Jose Mercury News colleagues are teaching journalism courses; one is a j-school dean. I’ve wondered: What do you tell students about their job prospects? The reality is: Dim and dimmer.
Blacksmithing is a better bet.