Last Friday, a guest post I wrote for the Society of Professionals Freelancer blog was published. In the blog, I go over the benefits that freelancers can reap from a journalism degree. In recent years, the journalism degree has become viewed as somewhat of an unnecessary, antiquated major choice. That said, there’s really no way to duplicate the many positive aspects of a college degree in journalism. I’ve highlighted four major benefits of deciding to earn a degree in journalism.
1. Networking. Meeting other like-minded professionals is an often overlooked benefit to pursuing an education. There are very few times in life when you’ll be surrounded with so many like-minded peers. Freelance journalism is particularly dependent on your contacts, so it makes the networking that happens at college, that much more worthwhile.
2. Getting published in a school newspaper. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Not only will being published provide you with a good by-line for your portfolio, it helps familiarize you with the freelance journalism career. Deadlines, rejection, and the editing process are all applicable things you can learn being published in your school newspaper.
3. Practice. Obviously practicing isn’t something one can only do at college, but college is a great motivator. Where else are you going to write countless papers that won’t be published, and are unpaid? Maybe you’re motivated enough to pound out some reports solely for the sake of experience, but I know I benefit from the incentive that school gives you.
4. Being in the right place, at the right time All college campuses serve as a cultural epicenter for their respective communities. College is a great time to be in the know when it comes to professionals in your field giving lectures, workshops, and the like. So take advantage of your campuses resources, and you’ll come out a more prepared professional.
A degree won’t ensure you success in freelance journalism, but it will prepare you. So before you write-off a journalism degree as antiquated and not worth it, examine the often unseen benefits of a degree in journalism. A BA in journalism may not be a career guarantee, but it can’t hurt.