I have lost track of the number of times I have been told that a Journalism degree is worthless. For some reason, most of society believes that all Journalists do is write for a newspaper. What they fail to realize is that Journalists can do so much more.
In my Print News Writing class yesterday, we had a recent graduate come in to talk to us. He received his Communication degree over four years ago in Journalism, and did work for a newspaper, but quit after only a few days. He then moved on to the Charlotte NBC TV affiliate as an assistant and later a producer for their evening news section. As a producer, it was his job to write the script for the news segment.
This career had never even crossed my mind, and got me thinking about what else a student with a Communication or Journalism degree can do career wise. Very few of my fellow Journalism majors are even contemplating going into traditional print Journalism. Some of the jobs that have come across their minds though are working for nonprofit organizations, writing for magazines, or doing publicity for arts organizations. In reality, the options for a Journalism major are endless, we just have to get out there and find them!
And Journalism skills lend themselves to other careers as well. For example, the speaker that we had in class did not stay with a traditional Journalism job. After working at the tv station for a number of years, he felt drawn to working with legal issues, and entered law school. He now works for NASCAR drafting contracts and other documents. Though he said he misses writing from a Journalism standpoint, he said his current position is just as worthwhile, especially since he can use his writing skills from Journalism.
This should set an example to all of us up-and-coming journalists. We may get a lot of flack from choosing this major that is apparently going nowhere, but we can turn that all around if we take the initiative to go out there and find jobs in our field. With this economy, a full time Journalism job is not going to fall into our laps. We either need to be out there talking to literally everyone we know, or we may need to create our own. Either way, a Communication or Journalism degree does not need to be a death sentence to unemployment but a ticket to some really interesting jobs that we haven’t even thought would pertain to us yet.