Journalism: Was it a Waste of Time?

Photo courtesy of blogs.lsjstudents.net

I would like to thank The Daily Beast for starting off my last day of Tuesday-Thursday classes (ever) with a bit of disturbing news. Apparently journalism has made the list for the top 13 Most Useless Majors students are graduating with this year. In fact, its number eight. I discovered this news while sitting in the Journalism Department at my school getting ready for my last journalism class I need to graduate. I apparently missed this memo freshman year.

Here are the statistics for journalism graduates:

Unemployment, recent grad: 7.7 percent
Unemployment, experienced grad: 
6.0 percent
Earnings, recent grad: 
$32,000
Earnings, experienced grad: 
$58,000
Projected growth, 2010–2020: 
-6 percent
Related occupations: 
Reporter, correspondent, broadcast news analyst

Yay! I love finding out great news at 8 AM on a Thursday mornings! Not.

As I sat there banging my head against the desk silently regretting my educational decision, I must have knocked some sense into me because I suddenly realized something I hadn’t before. The Daily Beast got it wrong. Journalism has taught me a great deal about myself and about my skills that I can definitely apply to other career fields. Here are three reasons why I believe journalism really is a great major.

  1. Communication Skills:This is probably the most obvious skill you learn through journalism courses. Communication, both written and verbal, are crucial in the professional world. You can be the smartest person in your company, but if you can’t get your ideas and opinions across to colleagues and clients, then you really have no business working. Without strong communication skills, people will think twice about working with you.

    Photo courtesy of abstract-thoughts.com

  2. Interview Skills: This kind of goes with #1, however, interviewing is a different form of communication. Journalists learn to seek “juicy” information. You will never find that awesome tidbit of information if you don’t ask around. The ability to ask important questions can be applied to any career. When working with clients you need to really understand what they want out of you and your company. Same with your superiors and knowing what they expect of you. The only way to know that is by asking questions. Not only can you find out a lot about a person or topic, but you also steer the conversation in a direction that might lead you to your next big break!
  3. Trust. This by far is the most applicable skill you can get out of journalism. As a journalist, earning the trust of your source is what makes or breaks a story, and sometimes your career. If you earn the trust of a source you’ve earned a very valuable tool for finding ideas for future stories. If you lose the trust of a source, you will never gain it back. Your link to future leads shatters. Your reputation becomes tainted in their eyes. You’ve lost a supporter. The same thing goes for every business. Earning the trust of your client or boss can sometimes be the hardest thing to gain. Once you earn their trust, however, is when your best work comes out. Knowing that people believe in you and the work you produce makes doing what you do that much better.

See, journalism really is a great background to have going in to the job world. The expertise you learn as a journalist transcends  every career path out there. I’m grateful I choose this major to pursue because the application potential it has far outweighs the negative attention it often receives.

If your curious to see what majors are useful for upcoming grads click here.

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7 comments

  1. kcasrkev1 · · Reply

    And if only all young folks had their priorities inline like you certainly seem to, the world would be in the palms of their hands. Keep up the good work, and I love the comments from everyone. They are absolutely right. You will do very well for yourself. Some guy is gonna be very lucky getting you for a partner. P.S. No wonder we click. I LOVE history, too.

    1. Thanks! I tell my boyfriend every day he’s pretty darn lucky haha

  2. Don’t listen to ‘the beast’…seems like you got it all figured out! A smart girl like you will make it far for sure 🙂

  3. kcasrkev1 · · Reply

    Well put, Samantha. I applaud you. Don’t you ever forget this, either. I have been out in the working world for quite some time now, and over the years I’ve learned one very important thing, communication is the key in any career. The best do it better than the rest. Remember that, and apply it not only to the career that you eventually choose to be a part of, but in your private life as well. The other thing I’ve learned too, is that quite a lot of people have jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with the degree that they earned. Ask around and see for yourself. If you had had that info in your freshman year, what would you really have done? Hopped back and forth between majors? Time changes everything. It’s what you make of what you’ve acquired that makes or breaks you, and it seems to me like you’re going to be just fine. Stay focused and never forget those wise words.

    1. I really appreciate your compliment I’d like to think that one of my best qualities is the ability to talk to nearly anyone about anything. I’m hoping this will help me in my upcoming interviewing process. To be honest, I probably would have stuck to journalism but achieved a minor in something more practically like advertising instead of history. However, I LOVE history so I really can’t say I regret choosing it as my minor. Most of my favorite classes were my history classes. Thanks for always commenting. I love hearing what you think.

    2. I also love the fact that the “light bulb” came on. You are a very talented and wise young lady. I have no doubt that you will go far both in the business world and in your personal life. I enjoy reading your blogs and I am very proud of you! You made no mistake in choosing your field.
      Kcasrkev1 put it very well!

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