Posted by: stiltsville | May 9, 2011

The Daily Beast fails on Journalism

As a card-carrying graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Florida, I feel qualified to comment on the Daily Beast‘s recent declaration that journalism is one of the 20 most-useless college majors in the information age…

When I was in college, the reporter’s primary reference was printed on paper and delivered to your doorstep by the phone company. We actually had a class on how to use the telephone book. Thinking back, I learned a few other things in J-school too:

  • We practiced the inverted pyramid style of writing so we could make a concise presentation.
  • We learned linear regression to help understand primary research data.
  • Secondary research methodologies were explored and tested.
  • Creative and critical thinking skills were exercised.
  • Then we covered copyright law.
  • And of course, we got hands-on experience with a little thing called Viewtron and ran student newspapers, TV and radio stations.

J-school gave me the intellectual tools needed to collect, analyze and present information. Legally. Critical thinking, teamwork and creative presentation skills were practiced over and over again.

Now, I can’t even remember the last time I opened a phone book. But I and millions of other “knowledge workers” use information collection, analysis and presentation skills every day. J-school gave many of us valuable skills to survive and thrive in the information age. While traditional newsroom & reporting jobs are fading, basic journalism skills are ever more useful in a world more dominated by social media.

Oh yeah… and ranking college majors based on average income is just plain shallow. If all you got out of college is a tattoo and the ability to earn a paycheck, you really did fail, no matter what your grades.


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