July 29, 2002

Columbia University journalism school…

OpinionJournal: Who Needs Dr. J.? Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, wants to revamp the journalism school to make it more intellectual. Three cheers for that! Tunku Varadarajan points out just how vacuous much journalism education is. This quote is telling:

At present, the J-school is little more than a vocational workshop, where students have their writing “critiqued” and line-edited. Students work in what one graduate described to me as “laboratory conditions, which basically means we play pretend-journalism.” They do this for 10 months and leave with a master’s degree. A few of them make an impact on their profession, but most populate its middle rungs at best. It’s striking how small has been the influence of J-school graduates on the upper reaches of American journalism.

Ten months!? A proper M.A. will take the committed student no less than two years even at a mid-level school. Yes, it can be done faster if the student does nothing else. But I question the quality of work one can produce taking more than nine graduate credit hours per semester. (via MediaMinded)

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