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Teaching Online Journalism

Should you get a master’s in journalism?

To answer that question, make sure you know what you want to gain from the experience. Because getting a master’s degree is an experience — as well as an investment of your time and your money.

Mu Lin, a professor at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey, has addressed this in a new blog post:

A survey of master’s programs in digital journalism in US

Lin wrote:

Digital expertise is no longer an option for journalism students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and digital training should be an integral part of any journalism program.

Unfortunately, digital training is not always desired by students who enroll in a journalism master’s degree program.

When students enroll in a graduate program for journalism, they come with a very wide range of expectations and assumptions (this is true not only at my university — I’ve discussed this with professors at various j-schools around the United States and Canada, and they see the same range).

Some students have not thoroughly researched what real journalists do in their jobs. Some students are not fully aware of how the journalism field has changed in the past 10 years.

One consequence of that shortage of information: Students may resist or even reject training in digital skills necessary for, say, data-driven journalism. Why? Because the student wants to be “a writer” or “a TV reporter.”

Everyone who wants to apply to any journalism graduate program, at any university, needs to research the field and the jobs in that field. Don’t make any assumptions. Check out the ads for real journalism jobs today.

Related post: Advice to journalism students: Forget grad school!


Categories: jobs, multimedia, training


7 Comments

  1. Good post RT @macloo: Should you get a master’s in journalism? http://t.co/Ja8drady #ascj #wjchat

  2. mulinblog says:

    Mindy, I’m curious – why UF’s (regular) journalism graduate program does not have a required course in digital journalism? Do most students in that program intend to pursue a doctoral degree?

  3. @samkirkla says:

    If you want to be a journo and don’t have a bachelor’s in J. RT @craignewman: Should you get a master’s in journalism? http://t.co/tEgT2ASW

  4. Mu Lin – At UF, our traditional master’s is just that: A theory- and research-based master’s program. It is not intended to train the student to become a journalist. However, some MAMC students do want to work in journalism and have no previous training, so they take undergrad courses and pay graduate tuition for them. It seems illogical to me, but we are not the only university that has that.

  5. Solid advice from @macloo | Should you get a master’s in #journalism? http://t.co/uULdjnA3

  6. Mindy,

    I just wrote about my thoughts on master’s programs: http://patthorntonfiles.com/blog/2013/01/15/combining-a-journalism-degree-with-a-disparate-degree-instead-of-pursuing-multiple-journalism-degrees/

    The perspective I took was that if you have an undergraduate journalism degree, you’d be better off getting a master’s in another field and combining the two experiences. Digital skills can be learned on the job and may be better taught in other programs. Or at least you’d have the experience of not being surrounded by journalists and their biases. I think there is a lot of value in studying with non-journalists at some point in your life.

    Conversely, people with relevant non-journalism skills make a lot of sense for journalism master’s programs.

    I’m just not convinced (although I could be) of the merit of someone getting two straight journalism degrees unless they want to be researchers or professor of journalism.

  7. The perspective I took was that if you have an undergraduate journalism degree, you’d be better off getting a master’s in another field and combining the two experiences. Digital skills can be learned on the job and may be better taught in other programs. Or at least you’d have the experience of not being surrounded by journalists and their biases. I think there is a lot of value in studying with non-journalists at some point in your life.

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