Class dismissed

Neil McIntosh has damned good advice for journalism students, following up on a report about the state of j-schools and technology, below:

Again, for those at the back: if you think you want to be a journalist, I now don’t think there’s any excuse not to have a blog. The closer you get to looking around for jobs, the better it should be maintained. If you enter the jobs market without one, no matter how good your degree, you’re increasingly likely to lose out to people who better present all they can do, and have the experience of creating and curating their own site.

  • I’m a university student entering the last year of my degree program and thinking about sticking around another year or two for a minor in journalism. After I read this I went and looked through the list of courses my university has for writing/journalism students and I found exactly one course related to electronic journalism, and it’s not being offered in either term of the upcoming school year. (no one qualified to teach it maybe?) Admittedly I don’t go to a journalism school, but still, I would expect better.

  • I’m not a journalist but my current employer left a message on my blog asking me to get in touch. How did they find my blog? From a comment I left on Buzzmachine.

  • Amen. And there’s a particularly valuable set of skills that operating a blog teaches that has been greatly undervalued by Old Media, and is at the core of its demise — learning how to appeal to, attract, and hold an audience. (Steve Boriss, The Future of News)

  • Sorry not sure what happened to my original comment above.

    What I was trying to say was I recently tried to explain just this point to a group of professional food writerss. They simply couldn’t understand why “should we give our content away for free?” Then they wonder why they’re not getting as much work as they used to and why bloggers are taking their jobs.

  • I would beg to differ to a certain degree. Some people aren’t bloggers and, as a media relations professional, I’ve found most journalists don’t blog themselves and few still even read other blogs. While the trend may be for the numbers to increase, there are simply some journalists who are journalists … they cover their respective beats for their outlets. While it certainly is wise for them to read relevant blogs about their beats and their industries, I’m not sure if diverting ones time away from the task at hand is appealing to all employers.

  • sam

    Aspiring journalists would also be well served to take courses in economics, U.S. history, and political science. courses in newswriting, etc. could be wrapped up in a semester. Over the years, I have increasingly seen newspaper and magazine stories, and particularly commentary, devoid of context, basic knowledge of our system of government, and simple economics (not to mention ordinary common sense). I was a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 20 years, and never took a journalism course. I wrote for general circulation and business publications. I always wondered how you parlay a semester or two of arguably worthwhile instruction into a four-year program, as well as a graduate degree.

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  • While I’m not sure that it’s imperative for tomorrow’s journalists to keep a blog, I wonder what sort of blog is recommended. I am in j-school right now at the University of Kansas, and I do maintain a blog about journalism topics. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but I enjoy the chance to think about topics and dish out my opinions. I wonder, though, does the content of blog matter or is the important thing that a student has a blog, period. Hopefully my blog is not as unintelligent as I fear and is instead a forum for me (at least) to discuss issues as they arise. I enjoy Buzzmachine, Jeff; keep up the good work.

  • chico haas

    Blogging isn’t important. Writing every day is.

  • I’m not sure I necessarily agree with you, Jeff. McIntosh’s point seems to be not so much that students have a blog, but that they have some technical /computer expertise in addition to being able to write.

    In fact, if the j-school kid is an aspiring reporter and just happens to be part of the smallest minority in American journalism (a conservative), I think I’d advise them to follow the advice of Robert Novak and Rob Dreher and keep that fact on the down-low.

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