It’s not journalism

Journalism landed at the top of the Daily Beast’s gallery of 20 Most Useless Degrees. I have a problem with that.

A journalism degree is not about learning how to write quick, illegible script and it has nothing to do with how to properly hold a notepad. Journalism:

• is more difficult than public speaking: you talk with strangers, not to them.

• requires constant production under the pressures of deadlines, noisy newsrooms, and shy sources. 

• has the responsibility to accurately report a day’s events (or in some cases, months and years).

Plus, journalism is the fiercest tool in the arms cache meant to uphold a free democracy. It’s not just journalism. It’s communications.

I constantly correct people when they ask me what I’m going to do with a “journalism” degree. I tell them that I have a communications degree. And what can’t you do with that?

Effective writing, speaking and listening is critical to any job, anywhere. Employers seek able communicators.

Or professional listeners, as Berkley’s wife, Milbre Burch, calls us.

The Daily Beast rankings are made less worthy by the criteria: starting and mid-career salaries and changes in the number of jobs. Feel free to insert [money isn’t everything] argument here.

A private liberal arts school must have spurned the author’s undergrad app, as art, photography, theater, English and music landed on the list. The creator also doesn’t care to be fed (agriculture, nutrition, animal sciences, horticulture), clothed (fashion design) or cured (chemistry).

Bunk, I say, to the whole list. I have a problem with it. Do you?

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