T Nation

Any Thoughts on Graduate School for Journalism?


I am right now in the process of considering accepting enrollment to Columbia University's graduate school of journalism. Are there any journalists around here that have any advice on the matter? I have been getting all kinds of suggestions (ranging from "You have to go!" to "Don't fucking go!") but few of them come attached to any sort of compelling line of reasoning.

There are other back-up options on the table such as law school but I have all but decided completely against them. I'd like to work in journalism at least for a while in my youth and I'd love any input from someone who can attest to the wisdom/folly of breaking into the industry through J-school.



Hard to argue much against NYC and while you're young

If you enroll, do it for the right reasons and get your network going


lol I'd be lying if I didn't say part of the reason I want to end up there is that I went to college at a small liberal arts school with the pretty trees and rolling hills and picturesque susnsets and now I'm ready for some fucking busy overcrowded messy city life.

And yeah, I've come to realize that making connections is one of the most important things about institutions of higher learning. Get all the As you want but in the end the guy who knows somebody is the one that lands the job.


The question in my mind is, what do you hope to accomplish? I could be wrong, but to my knowledge, journalism isn't really a field that requires advanced degrees. I'd think it would be more important to get your foot in the door somewhere, get experience and prove yourself. Is the reason you want to attend grad school because job prospects are poor? I wouldn't expect them to get any better in the coming years, so if you really want to be a journalist, seems to me that your best bet is to hit the pavement and start grinding.


Congrats on getting into Columbia.

I'm not a journo but I am going to respectfully disagree with belligerent. From everything I have heard and read, journalism is so competitive right now that you're going to need every advantage you can acquire just to get an entry level job in a decent outlet. Lots of unemployed reporters out there who are old hands at doing the man-on-the-street stuff. I'm sure you can still have a good career but you're going to have to go to the best school and network/schmooze like a mofo. If you don't have an internship lined up for the summer then you better get on the horn. Same goes for law school if you go that route.

How's your math skills? I'd be looking at engineering fields like biotech, mechatronics, energy/natural resource extraction.

Good luck.


Thanks for the input gents. Belligerent and Metamarophic, you guys basically represent the two lines of reasoning that have been presented to me by the dozens of people I've asked...and numerically it seems to split right down the middle, with half saying go and half saying don't.

I do think that, whether or not it is necessary to receive an advanced degree (I doubt that it is), at a place like Columbia the networking will probably be worth it.

Maybe I'll flip a coin lol.


I think the real question here is, "when you think of yourself at 40 yrs old, do you see yourself as a successful journalist?" And along those lines, "do you see yourself making sacrifice-after-sacrifice in order to realize that goal because dammit, you're not settling for less than that!"

NYC will be a good look whether you're fully decided at this point or not, but the sooner you figure this all out, the sooner you're on the road to making it happen.

Good luck and keep us posted...


I will through in my two cents.

One cent - Don't go!

Second cent - You gotta go!

(I really need a 50 cent line hear but do not have one)

Good luck!

One more thing, do not go to grad school unless they are paying you to be there. Consider the amount of loans you might end up taking to go into profession where making enough to pay the loans back is not assured.