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What’s the Value of a Journalism Degree?


The Shop Talk panelists discuss a Poynter NewsU survey about journalism education.

It found 96% of journalism educators believe a journalism degree is very to extremely important when it comes to understanding the value of journalism. But just 57% of professionals, such as editors, felt the same way.

Three of our panelists – Lisa Kernek, Jasmine Garcia, and Mike Murray – teach journalism and/or broadcasting at Western Illinois University, and they’re not surprised by the survey results.

Murray said he tells his broadcasting students it’s important to get a degree in a field in which writing is a strong component. That could be journalism, but other majors or minors could also provide that experience.

Garcia said students who want to become journalists need to broaden their horizons.  Garcia also said she will incorporate Twitter and Storify into her broadcast news writing class. She said students need to learn how to write for the web as well as for broadcasting.

Kernek said some of the disparity in the survey results might be due to the difficulty colleges and universities have in keeping up with technological changes in the news industry. She also pointed out it takes time to change curricula and implement new courses.

Kernek said teachers must also balance the need to teach technological skills against the need to teach basic reporting skills.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.