Student Work: Katie Yaeger on why journalism is a useful major
Sophomore news editing student Katie Yaeger is currently an education reporter at the Columbia Missourian. The Atlanta native originally published the following reflection on her blog.
By Katie Yaeger
Dear general public: Journalism is not a “useless” major that limits one to working in one type of career. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Before spring break,I interviewed journalism professor Charles Davis, who will be leaving MU at the end of the academic year to become dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. (How ’bout them Dawgs?)
Sure, it was nice to talk about our beloved home state and The Varsity (an Atlanta and Athens landmark that serves delicious F.O.s — Frosted Orange shakes — and other American-style food), but that’s not what I liked the most about our conversation. I asked him what he thought students should be learning in journalism schools, and I was surprised by how much his answer stuck with me.
He didn’t mention anything about a newsroom, or a magazine office, or an advertising agency. He didn’t talk about this ambiguous term of “convergence” (for you non-journalists, that’s the combination of photos, video footage and text stories into one package for the audience) that’s discussed as a possible future of journalism. He didn’t talk about how print newspapers are dying, how people in the industry need to experiment with how to make a profit and survive online, blah blah blah blah blah (insert additional industry chatter here).
He said students should learn to multitask.
He said students should gain the often undervalued ability to take unsynthesized information and condense and translate it so that it makes sense to the general public.
He said students should graduate with the ability to think and move and write fast while maintaining professional standards.
These tangible skill sets, he said, can plug into lots of different workplaces.
Not newsrooms. Not magazine offices. Not TV and radio stations. Not public relations firms. Not advertising agencies. Workplaces.