News Flash: J-Schools Are Useless, Expensive Institutions That Will Only Make You Poor

reporters journalists interview

Photo: The Associated Press

There’s a battle of wits and words raging over at The Lynch Blog about journalism school. Chris Lynch writes that, “in the coming years, I think most journalism schools will shrink or disappear.”He bases this assertion on another theory: As the group of readers willing to pay for content shrinks, so will the pool of people who provide content.

That would be a plausible idea, if it weren’t for the fact that applications to Journalism schools have been on the rise for the last two years. Meanwhile, readers are more fragmented than ever before.

Lynch Blog: The foundations of that cathedral have been shaken to the core because there is less money to validate its existence and shield the inadequacies of some of the people in it. My advice to kids currently in journalism school is to, at the very least, find a niche and expertise that isn’t about content creation itself.

Certainly, simply training to be a “content creator” at J-schools isn’t the smartest economic decision.

Here’s a back-of-the-envelope glimpse at the economics of the choice to get a Master’s degree in journalism:

  • NYU Master’s program Tuition and fees : ~$47,000
  • Columbia Master’s program Tuition and fees: $51,063
  • Northwestern’s Master’s program at Medill tuition: $44,656

So, if you want to get a Master’s in journalism at a top school, embrace debt. And don’t expect to make enough money pay back those student loans.

  • Mean annual wage for “reporters and correspondents”: $44,030 (according to Bureau of labour Statistics)


But, also, there’s this: Anyone who is choosing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to gain entrance into an industry that does not promise big paychecks must be doing so for other reasons than money.

Why should we assume that the economics of the media industry, wanna-be journalists, and journalism schools will go hand-in-hand?

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