Journalists sans j-school
"You're conscripted!" read a Sun News Network post that was soliciting applicants for a number of job vacancies at the network.
In Sun News Network fashion, the posting blasted both the CBC and the Lamestream Media Party, but also picked a relatively new foe: journalism schools.
No need to have a journalism degree (in fact, we'll view it with a healthy dose of skepticism). Journalism 101 isn't where you learn to find the truth.
Coming up with the right stories for Ezra, Adler and Brian isn't rocket science...but you can bet your average CBC producer wouldn't be able to deliver that magic.
Sun News Network might be surprised to find out then, that a number of the journalists it may consider to be part of what it describes as the “group think therapy sessions” — the types of journalists it says it doesn't want — never actually went to j-school.
The Ottawa Citizen’s Glen McGregor sent a tongue-in-cheek tweet about the posting:
Work as a Sun TV journalist! No journalism degree required!!! Apply today. bit.ly/PpCUcU— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) August 2, 2012
Which prompted a number of journalists for large media organizations on prominent beats — McGregor included — to talk about the value of journalism school, seeing as how they had not attended themselves.
I never took a course on journalism in my life.— Paul Wells (@InklessPW) August 2, 2012
Me neither. Life was my j-school!— kady o'malley (@kady) August 2, 2012
@inklesspw: I never took a course on journalism in my life.
Despite this, many journalism job postings now require applicants to have a journalism degree. One reason, as given by Canadian University Press national bureau chief Arshy Mann:
A sentiment seconded by The Citizen’s Stephen Maher.
I suspect it may be harder now than it once was to get into journalism without a j school degree.— Stephen Maher (@stphnmaher) August 2, 2012
And while these are examples of a number of journalists who have contributed much to the industry, they do make note of areas where j-school is valuable:
And for ethics, I think. RT— Stephen Maher (@stphnmaher) August 2, 2012
@inklesspw: J school is helpful for learning technical stuff and for networking.
Melanie Coulson, a senior online editor for The Citizen and a journalism instructor at Carleton went so far as to write an open cover letter for the Sun News Network job, but posted on Twitter yesterday that alas, she has not yet received a call for an interview.