There’s been much ado about why going to J-school is useless. You can learn to blog and write on the job, they say. The dearth of jobs means you probably won’t be able to cover the cost of those student loans, explain critics. But what about the pros of a formal journalism education?
For one, journalism grads are schooled on the basics of the biz, like handling embargoes, AP style and avoiding libel and slander claims.
“I was definitely in for a rude awakening when I started,” said Anne Urda, an assistant managing editor at Law360 with a master’s in journalism from NYU. “I thought, ‘Hey, I’m a decent writer, I can do this,’ but it really does require a different set of skills and an actual education in the importance of a good lede, asking the right questions of your sources, etc. etc. While you can pick that up along the way in a job, it’s very difficult to find the right mentor or someone who is going to take the time to school you in those fundamentals when you are up against real-world deadlines.”