Is Journalism a Useless Degree? (With Student Quotes)

The profession of journalism is on the decline in today’s society. Fewer jobs are available, and those that are frequently demand years of experience.

These days, a lot of individuals criticize journalism degrees in this way. Are they accurate? Is a degree in journalism useless?

Many journalism students wonder whether getting their journalism degree is worthwhile. Continue reading if you’re interested in a career as a journalist.

I’ll discuss why journalism is still important and whether or not a degree in journalism can help you get employment in the field.

I converse with both journalists who are now employed and those who have degrees in journalism.

So that there are no misunderstandings or preconceived notions about journalism, let’s first define a journalism major.

Journalism Degree
Journalism Degree

What Is a Journalism Major?

Students majoring in journalism learn how to report news stories. They study morality, writing abilities, interviewing strategies, and other topics. Being able to write, edit, and generate content for print, TV, radio, video, or internet media outlets is the aim of a journalism degree.

They want to work for newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and internet, in other words.

Writing, reporting, editing, photography, video production, site design, advertising, public relations, marketing, and other activities are now all part of journalism.

A journalism major wants to study as much as they can about the industry so that they may use what they have learned after they graduate from college.

Journalism majors receive training in interviewing people, conducting interviews, analyzing news sources, and creating multimedia reports. Additionally, students are taught how to obtain data from primary and secondary sources, including performing research and conducting interviews.

During their final year, journalism students frequently spend time working for neighborhood news organizations. They are able to do this to obtain real-world experience and expand their network before they start looking for work.

Is Journalism a Useless Degree?

A journalism degree is not completely useless. When you are a journalism major or have another liberal arts degree, journalism can help you build crucial skills that will help you land a career after graduation. It teaches you how to communicate eloquently, write critically, and think critically. Additionally, you earn useful experience with various mediums.

The field of journalism demands a wide range of abilities.

You must be able to communicate clearly, think critically, conduct in-depth research, and write well. All of these abilities must be mastered by journalism students if they want to succeed as journalists. There are numerous other majors and occupations that call for comparable talents, though.

For instance, a communications major might decide to become a public relations specialist, whereas a literature major might decide to become a writer. Some students decide to study journalism in addition to another subject.

Many people will argue that a journalism degree is obsolete in the modern era of social media and real-time news dissemination. It is true that a journalism degree does not assure the student of a career in the field. That is why some people believe it to be pointless.

A liberal arts degree in journalism equips graduates to address difficult problems by using their critical thinking, creativity, communication, and problem-solving abilities. Other liberal arts degrees can give you the knowledge and abilities need to produce interesting and educational content.

English, history, sociology, political science, psychology, economics, philosophy, biology, anthropology, and other liberal arts disciplines are also popular majors for journalists.

With those degrees, you’ll learn how to write, conduct research, think critically and creatively, be open-minded, express yourself, and solve problems.

You should think about taking one of those liberal arts degrees if you want to work in journalism. They will train you for a range of positions in the sector.

Katie Dodd, a CNN Journalist for over 20 years says “The thing that they looked for in young journalists was a well-rounded individual. Someone who stayed up-to-date on current events in the world.” 

Katie adds that she feels a “degree in English, History, and/or Political Science would be a great background to becoming a journalist.” 

Breaking News Journalism
Breaking News Journalism

Is Studying Journalism a Waste of Time?

Because the majority of journalists don’t make a living from their profession, some people think studying journalism is a waste of time. Yet nothing could be further from the truth than this. Indeed, a large number of people work in journalism.

If you want to work as a journalist, majoring in journalism is a wise choice. You will gain knowledge in the areas of research, information interpretation, quality writing, and successful communication.

However, you won’t learn many technical skills by studying journalism. You will therefore need to contribute in addition to your basic journalism degree.

Sarah Stewart, who has a Journalism degree from Northwestern University and has been a Journalist for the last 28 years, says that “competition for jobs was tough and continues to get tougher with technology. The new hires are now well-traveled, speak two languages, have 1-2 degrees from top universities, work smart and hard.”

How Hard is Journalism?

Even if earning a degree in journalism is not difficult, it still requires some effort. You’ll need to put in the time if you’re serious about pursuing a career in journalism.

Every day of study is required. You must read books, periodicals, newspapers, blogs, and other materials. You’ll have to view videos, listen to podcasts, and go to lectures.

You must be proficient in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction. These are only a few of the fundamental abilities you must develop before graduating.

After you graduate, the labor continues as well. A career in journalism is performance-based. You must continually deliver outcomes. You’ll have to perform research, create articles, edit tales, and conduct interviews.

Sarah says she asks young people interested in journalism, “Are you OK going through piles of documents for weeks and months? Are you OK working nights and weekends?” She adds that she always suggests that they not go into journalism. Those who ignore her advice are the ones who should become a journalist. 

The field of journalism demands a significant amount of work and commitment. You must put your all into it if you want to succeed. However, it’s more difficult than it seems to break into the journalism field.

Before applying for jobs, you must first obtain a college education, then complete internships and build experience. You will need to prove your worth on a daily basis if you obtain a job.

Additionally, you’ll have to deal with the media landscape’s ongoing transformation. Because of everything said above, you will be under a lot of pressure to keep your job.

You might anticipate receiving numerous employment offers from various companies if you are an accomplished journalist. Compared to other liberal arts degrees, journalism is not very challenging. It is typically simpler for students who study journalism to find employment at establishments like newspapers and magazines. This therefore offers you a general notion of the experience you will get while working in journalism.

Journalist Conducting Interview
Journalist Conducting Interview

7 Pros of a Journalism Degree

There are many pros of pursuing a journalism degree. Some of them include:

  1. It teaches you how to think critically. A journalism degree helps you analyze information, understand issues, and make decisions. This makes you more aware of what’s happening around you.
  2. It teaches you how important facts are. Journalists must know how to gather facts so that their readers/viewers can make informed decisions. They must be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  3. It teaches you how powerful words can be. Words can influence public opinion, which is why journalists need to use them carefully.
  4. It teaches you how much responsibility goes along with being a journalist. As a journalist, you are responsible for telling the truth and providing accurate news.
  5. It teaches you how valuable communication is. Communication is one of the most important aspects of any business or organization. Good communication leads to better relationships, which can lead to success.
  6. It teaches you how influential you can be. Being a journalist gives you the opportunity to create content that has a positive impact on others.
  7. It teaches you how diverse and interesting the world is. There are so many things to learn about! Every day, new discoveries are made. By studying these things, you’ll be able to see the world in a whole new light.

Cons of a Journalism Degree

While there are many benefits to a journalism degree, there are also some drawbacks. Here are three cons of pursuing a journalism degree:

  1. It might be difficult to find a job. The number of available positions is decreasing as technology continues to advance. Many employers prefer candidates with relevant work experience over students.
  2. You might feel undervalued. Most employers don’t value a journalism degree as highly as they do a bachelor’s degree in another field. 
  3. You will end up spending a lot of time reading and writing. Although you’ll enjoy learning about all kinds of subjects, you won’t necessarily enjoy writing about them. In order to become successful as a journalist, you should focus on developing skills such as research, critical thinking, and storytelling. 

What Can I Do with a Journalism Major?

Our society would not be the same without journalists. They aid in our comprehension of the world around us and the significance of particular occurrences. They give us knowledge and perspective on problems that concern us all.

Reporting, writing, editing, photography, graphic design, video production, radio broadcasting, website creation, and social media management are just a few of the many distinct job categories in journalism.

While some journalists freelance or operate independently, many of them work for news organizations.

Some writers focus on a particular subject, such as science, politics, health, education, or sports. Others concentrate on breaking news, reporting on crimes, catastrophes, conflicts, and natural disasters.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for news analysts, reporters, and journalists was $48,370. (BLS). They anticipate 6% annual growth.

How to Know if Journalism Is Right for You

Knowing if this major is suitable for you is helpful if you want to pursue a career in journalism. There may be no need for you to attend a journalism course if you have no interest in the field. But if you’re interested in journalism but unsure if this degree is best for your future, consider these queries:

  • Do you have an interest in working in the public eye?
  • Do you enjoy interacting with people?
  • Are you interested in telling stories?
  • Do you enjoy researching and organizing information?
  • Do you enjoy writing?
  • Do you enjoy communicating ideas through text?
  • Do you enjoy being creative?
  • Do you enjoy meeting deadlines?
  • Do you enjoy working with other people?
  • Do you enjoy talking to strangers

Rachel Jones, a Journalism Major from the University of Missouri, discusses why she studied journalism. “I love writing and sharing my thoughts. I enjoy helping others understand what I’m thinking and feeling through words. I also enjoy reading other people’s stories and connecting with them. I think that if we all had an outlet to share our ideas, we could help each other grow and become better versions of ourselves.”

Journalist Conducting Interview
Journalist Conducting Interview

Is Journalism a Useless Degree? Final Thoughts

Journalism isn’t a useless degree, but it also doesn’t lead to a very high-paying job initially. However, if you’re passionate about it, it can be worth pursuing because it can be a rewarding experience. And there are plenty of opportunities out there for those who choose to study journalism.

Learn more about these other majors and subjects: 

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Written by:

Amy Clark
I’m currently at Harvard Medical School. My undergrad was at Stanford University, majoring in Biology. My career goal as a Pre-med student is to become a cardiac surgeon. I’m passionate about working with people — I have a knack for providing the right treatment at the right time. Fun fact, I’m the one that brought everyone together. I met Chris at Stanford and Amy at Harvard! So glad I’m on this journey with them!

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