1. greenarrow
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    greenarrow New Member

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    Pursuing journalism, which undergrad do you think is more important?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by greenarrow, Apr 7, 2010.

    Hey all. I'm debating which way to go for my major, English or History. I'm planning on doing a Masters of Journalism after the undergrad, but i thought I'd see which undergrad you guys think would be more useful as a journalist? From the few people I've talked to, they say to skip the journalism undergrad altogether, because it is too general for the field and the Masters gives you "professional" status. Although I'd like to pursue a double major in English and History, I'm at the point in my life when I kind of need to get my ass in gear. The single major should only take me 2-2.5 years, where the double will take me around 4. Then there's either 2 or 3 years for the masters, depending on going right into the program or doing a qualifying year. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm inclined to agree, a Journalism degree is probably pretty useless. By all means take courses in journalism, but get your degree in something that will help you define a specialization. Hor example, a degree in one of the physical sciences would help you report intelligently on science stories, a political science degree may be useful for reporting on current events, etc.

    Also, consider your degree as a passkey into other business sectors than journalism. For example, technical writing would still leverage your writing skills, but with a steadier psycheck. Or you might work in business computing, if journalism turns out not to be your cup of tea.

    A degree in English may be viewed by some employers as, fairly or not, "I could't decide, so I chose Liberal Arts."
     
  3. greenarrow
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    greenarrow New Member

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    Yeah, I already have a 3 year Bachelor of Science in biology, so I think I've got the science part covered a little bit. The thing is I've always had it in the back of my mind that maybe in a few years when my writing picks up, I might try to write a novel. And I think that the English degree would help a bit more in that sense. But at the same time, that is why I was debating about the history degree as well - for knowledge in current events.
    You mentioned technical writing. Do you think there are jobs for technical writers in the biosciences? How does one go about getting a technical writing job?
     
  4. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Internships, my friend, internships! I'm a technical writer part-time for a web design and development company. I have no credentials, as I'm still a student in high school. I just happen to be professional and have decent talent at writing. I got an internship through a local job-placement company as a technical writer at this company, After performing well, I was hired as part-time employee.

    In essence, get to know people. Co-op programs, internships, networking of any kind; they all get your foot in the door.
     
  5. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally I would say go for journalism, but use the science and any other interests you have to your advantage, and expand your mind. Of course you'd need things to write about, but if you present yourself to a newspaper and enquire about a job, they'll ask why on earth somebody who took science and history degrees would want to do journalism.

    Not only that, but the degree will not just teach you how to write - some people have it, some people don't. They teach you marketing, campaigning, research skills, etcetera. And by teach I mean physical things, such as work placements and events organisation.

    I know people who do the journalism degree, and I have to say, if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, then you need to plunge yourself right in there. It's important that you don't appear to be an ameatur, and so I believe it should be your main focus. You've already done a hefty degree in science - let yourself go a bit, and have fun!


    Of course, i'm talking from the perspective of wanting a career. Freelance journalism is more about getting your name out there - so write, write, send, send.
     
  6. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I definitely agree with what ash said. Journalism would be my preferred choice too.
     
  7. greenarrow
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    greenarrow New Member

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    Thanks, but like I said in my post, I'd most likely be getting a Masters in Journalism after whichever undergrad I chose. But I do agree with you about learning how to write, which is why I'm leaning a bit more towards the English than the History degree. Thanks for the comment
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No matter what major you select, college will give you plenty of practice writing, as well as researching.
     
  9. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, I got a bit confused over what you were asking - thought you meant that you didn't know whether to do the Journalism after all.

    So, I guess if you're gonna take Journalism as an MA anyway, then go for whichever course gives you the widest range to talk about, and whichever captures your passion the most. Remember, you get as much out of these things as you put in, so even if you do less of the other subject, there's no reason why you should end up lacking.

    Good luck!
     
  10. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You should be aware of what the Journalism industry expects too. Often there are unwritten, unofficial prerequisites, even if they don't appear in job ads or things like that. Take the art world for instance. If you don't have a degree in art history, even though it seems like a degree that is not specifically tied to a particular job in the industry, you are unlikely to be considered for many positions (in older generations, simply working your way up through internships was a way in; nowadays, those kinds of internships are only given to students/young professionals with proven academic backgrounds in either Fine Arts or Art History).

    So while an undergrad degree in Journalism might not make much practical sense to you, you should make certain that its not something that is expected of you.
     

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