A recent article in Forbes found that despite massive job losses in journalism, journalism school admissions are booming. College students are seldom accused of being practical, but this boom borders on lunacy.
Consider these ugly facts about the status of journalism: The Pew Research Center estimates that 5,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2008. Paper Cuts reports that 7,500 jobs have been lost so far this year. Here in Richmond, the Richmond Times-Dispatch dismissed 28 news room staffers on April 2nd.
Each student may have different motives for entering j-school and many may be doing so to enter the field of teaching. But regardless of their reasons, a j-school degree offers some very real benefits to those entering affiliated fields such as public relations and marketing communications as well as less obvious careers such as law, public service, non-profits and even many areas of business.
J-schools teach students to be skeptical and to ask questions like journalists and to communicate effectively with all audiences. Those are certainly great traits. But the one intangible that I think is most valuable about a journalism school education is that it instills an active intellectual curiosity about the world around us that fuels our enthusiasm for life. I have found that curiosity and enthusiasm to be invaluable.