Note to journalism job seekers

Some first-hand advice about getting that j-school degree.

Word is that a journalism degree isn’t what it used to be — the ticket to a job with the industry behemoths of print and air. When anyone with the ability to write or speak well enough can capture an audience with a blog, video post or Tweet, you have to wonder if the “word” out there reflects what traditional journalism jobs are becoming (or have become): harder to get and tougher to keep.

In my bouts with unemployment (and there have been a few), I’ve pondered going back to school. My main focus was to get a digital journalism job, but with the exception of sketchy online schools, brick-and-mortar programs were few and miles between. I wondered why this was, and the answer didn’t abandon me. You learn those skills on the job, through trial and error. Know enough about keywords not to end up on page one-zillion-and-one, get your facts straight, keep your online reputation clean and you’re pretty much good to go. As with any industry where talent outweighs any piece of paper, you have to be better than good enough.

I’m not saying that students shouldn’t get a degree in an area they love. Take it from a former educator, school is and always will be cool. It’s the only place I can think of where you get weekly access to industry veterans without being born to them or interning or working for them. For those thinking about a journalism job, go for the degree. Just know that nowadays, you have to enlarge your skill set to be relevant and competitive. Think of blogging and social media as part of your portfolio, and don’t count on print.

– Natasha Dorsainvil

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