Three reasons why I’m not mad at The Daily Beast for calling journalism degrees useless

Well, that looks promising.

Journalism tops The Daily Beast’s gallery of the 20 most useless degrees and journalists on twitter are abuzz about the harsh designation. But come on guys, one day we’re going to have to be honest with ourselves and admit that the chances of landing a journalism job right out of school are only slightly better than being drafted into the NFL.

Don’t get me wrong, I love journalism, but speaking from the perspective of a veteran job searcher, I’d think twice before choosing journalism (or anthropology) as your primary major/career choice.

Here’s three reasons why:

3. In 2007, the blog Papercuts set out to track the decline of newspaper jobs. Fours years and 38,000 layed-off journalists later, the only positive thing they can say is, “The most remarkable thing about 2010 was the great decrease in the number of layoffs: There were more than 14,000 reported layoffs in 2008 and 2009, and not even 3,000 reported layoffs in 2010.”

Well, once you lay off most of your staff, you get to a point where there’s no one else you can lay off…(then comes the hamster wheel).

2. Last month, the market research group IBISWorld released a report calling newspaper one of the industries that will “decline even after the economy revives.” They cite industry stagnation, a crappy business model and increased use of the web as reasons things won’t be looking up for newspapers anytime soon. If that’s not enough to convince you to change your major right now, think about this: Other industries on the “mostly likely to be even crappier in the future” were mills and landline phones.

1. You don’t need a journalism degree to be a journalist. Just read this article by Lynn O’Shaughnessy on why it’s a great time to be a journalism major! …If anything, it’ll make you feel especially stupid for doing 116 credit hours and countless nights at your university paper for no pay, while a taxi dispatcher gets snatched up by a major paper because of her viral videos on YouTube. 78,000 journalism grads…and the job goes toooo…not one of them.

If you’re like me though and you still really want to do it despite the bleak outlook, check back here in a few weeks when I post “Tips for new grads.”

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4 comments
  1. I hope journalism doesn’t lose ALL its journalists.

  2. Laura said:

    “#1. You don’t need a journalism degree to be a journalist.”

    Truer words were never spoken. However, I still believe a journalism education preps you for being a journalist better than anything else possibly could. Sure, you can eventually figure out ethical issues, how to talk to important people on sensitive subjects, AP style and all that. But having an education in that prior to joining the workforce, I think, sets you at an advantage. Maybe I’m a purist, but I’ve seen one too many English majors get thrust in the position of journalist only to flub it up. Royally.

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