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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.