Journalism courses — a few questions

The issue is an ongoing one discussed on Boards.ie’s News / Media forum (the long list is below), and two years ago Shane Hegarty also blogged at IrishTimes.com on journalism courses and standards.

Here’s a few questions I’m interested getting answers to:

  • Are courses worth it?
  • Are journalism degrees and diplomas respected in the industry?
  • Which ones are most respected? How has this changed over time?
  • What do the courses teach? What do the courses not teach?
  • Why do so many journalism graduates leave college without knowing how to freelance?
  • How many graduates in journalism and related courses are there each year compared to journalism jobs?
  • How many graduates end up working in other sectors?
  • Are you better off studying journalism or another subject to get wider experience?
  • If experience is everything, for print, is going to TCD or UCD — which have more student publications — better then going to DCU?
  • Is there a cycle of students or recent graduates working too long without getting paid?
  • What’s the best route into journalism?
  • Do students / gratuities have a realistic picture of journalism?

I’m planning to compile questions or a survey around the above questions, as well as look into this in other ways. But first to leave time to tease this out a bit more:

  • Are there other questions to to add to this?
  • Who should be consulted? (Students, gratitudes, lecturers, journalists, editors?)
  • What other means are there in exploring this issue?
  • Has anybody else wrote about this in Ireland or elsewhere?
  • Is there anything I’m missing or wrongly including?

The threads on boards.ie discussing this in full or in part include: The Circular, 2004; Views on Journalism course options, 2005; Getting into the media, 2005; Best way into Journalism, 2005; Views on Journalism course options, 2005; Thinking of doing a Journalism Course – Read this, 2005; Rags, 2007; Investigative journalism training, 2007; Advice for getting into journalism, 2008, What to do with my Journalism Degree? , 2008; National diploma in arts in journalism, 2008; Freelance journalism, 2008; Some advice, 2009; Working freelance, 2008; Journalism advice anyone?, 2009; DBS Journo course, 2009; Starting in journalism/freelance experience?, 2010.

A lecturer at DCU says students should make the most of their time at college to read as much as they can, because they’ll never have so much time to do so again. My twist on that is journalism students should also research subjects they’re interested in, as they’ll never be given so much time to do so again.