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Monday, October 02, 2006

J-School?

As I grow more and more apathetic about my job, the prospect of graduate school becomes more and more appealing. I'm pretty much sure that writing is what I want to do, as it's obviously my natural reaction to everything to post a silly blog entry. I write quite a bit in my current job and I am preferring it over the public relations and marketing aspects of my work, which I am growing to find soul-numbing and pointless. So...I am considering a Master's in Journalism. However, I have some reservations which are rather complicating my enthusiasm towards the idea.

1.) Will I go to school for two years only to have to take a huge pay cut because journalists earn no money?
2.) Would it be better to do a weekend program so I can keep my current job, which may even agree to pay for said program? But would being a student and an office drone at once be like, rilly hard?
3.) Does anyone even care about M.As in journalism?
4.) Are the programs in DC worth it?

This last one is especially important as I don't want to leave the area. Sure, a program in NY would kick ass, but I like my life here and don't want to leave it. So many questions. Any DC-based J-schoolers out there?

6 Comments:

Blogger Ryane said...

Have you looked around on the mediabistro website at all? There is a lot of good info. on that site about writing careers, jobs,etc...

I considered going back to J-School for awhile, and I finally decided against it, for a variety of reasons. First--the cost. I mean seriously, if your job will help you pay for it, consider it, but otherwise, I think your concerns about spending money, to theoretically make more money (which may not happen instantly) are valid. Have you considered freelance? That is a great way to get your name out there, w/out having to be back in school..??

As for programs around here, don't Georgetown and American have good Journalism schools?

You are clearly a good writer...I bet you could get some stuff published in the small newspapters/magazines around town..even if it's not much money--it's a clip. The City Paper is always looking for interesting, DC-Centric stories...

Also, what about an unpaid internship? A mentor once suggested this to me as a means to get clips/experience/etc...I wasn't able to work one out, but I see listing for them a lot. And even though you are a non-traditional candidate, your enthusisam and skill should help give you an edge. ESP if you don't want to be paid. Sorry--this comment got reeeeally long.

Good luck!

12:51 PM  
Blogger ejtakeslife said...

When I interned at a DC newspaper and was pondering applying to J-school, every reporter told me not to; that it was way too much money and not tangible experience. They all said if I wanted to be a reporter I should go to a small daily (not in a big city), be a grunt reporter and learn to churn out copy, then come back and do the glam stuff.

Needless to say, I'm not a reporter now.

1:10 PM  
Blogger recovering overachiever said...

I was a journalism major in undergrad and also advised not to go to grad school. Everyone I encountered (at internships and interviews) seemed to stress real experience and clips over classes.
That said, all of the managers/upper-level editors at the papers where I worked went to grad school for journalism (or in the topic they wrote about).
I think your best bet would be to take a class and see what you can do freelance. Good luck!

1:21 PM  
Blogger G said...

A masters in any field that you would like to write about it more useful than a degree in Journalism itself. A family friend was a section edditor for the SF Chronicle, and always advised me that she wasn't as interested in a journalism degree as she was in knowledge about a specific subject, and writing that reflected that knowledge. This seemed particularly true for her, as she was the editor of the Political section, and majored in physics. Just look around for experience, no matter how cheesy it might seem. You have the ability, now you just need the experience. Freelance, look out for local papers, and maybe even find certain blogs that pay.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Hey Pretty said...

Hmm. Good input here. I guess part of my desire to do that stems from the fact that although I think I have good natural ability, the I don't really know how to interview or find good story angles. Plus, I think it might be nice to simply have the opportunity to be in an environment where craft is discussed and people truly care about words. I took a class at the Writers Center in Bethesda, but it was concerned more about how to pitch an article rather than wordsmithing. Sigh. I dunno.

Plus, how do freelancers come up with story ideas? I can never think of anything good.

8:08 PM  
Blogger minijonb said...

The Chicago blogs I read have nothing good to say about the Journalism job market... I can't imagine it's any better in DC.

4:34 PM  

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