Good reasons to study journalism

Journalism is changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up.  Every week new social media tools are promoted on which add to the ways journalists can communicate with their audiences.  But we know that not all those who take journalism at university will end up working in the profession.  So why should they study the subject?

Here at Glamorgan we are confident that what students learn from studying journalism are not only skills that might be used in a career in the media.

Succesful journalism students learn to think clearly and to make sense of the world around them; they learn to communicate clearly and directly; they learn to work co-operatively; they learn to be organised and to meet deadlines; they learn to present themselves and their ideas to other people.

All these are ‘transferable’ skills which could be useful in many careers as well as journalism. In 2009, the employers’ organisation, the CBI, produced a report called Future Fit – Preparing Graduates for the world of work, which concluded that the  ‘attributes that help people respond to the changing demands of the workplace  have never been so important.’  Among these were: 

Self-management, team working, business and customer awareness, problem solving, communication and literacy, Application of numeracy and information technology, a positive attitude, entrepreneurship and enterprise.

If you think about the skills a journalist needs and which you learn on a journalism course, you can see how they would help with all of the above.  Here are some of the things we teach our students to do:

Write clearly and accurately
Research documents and reports to get the important information
Interact with individuals and organisations
Present information in a clear and interesting way
Organise their time
Meet deadlines
Prepare and pitch ideas for projects
Work within a team
Solve problems
Work flexibly in changing and different environments
Communicate well with people from different backgrounds
Take an ‘entrepreneurial’ attitude to work
Be focussed on the ‘consumer’ – the audience
This all adds up to a number of good reasons to study journalism – whether you want to work in the exciting world of multi-media, online, fluid journalism which is opening up, or to apply those skills in the wider world of work.

About James Stewart

Senior Lecturer in Radio Journalism.
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