Journalism—the act of finding stuff out, then writing it down—is not hard to learn how to do. What is hard is getting someone to pay you a living wage to do it. The gatekeepers who sell industry access for a living are getting, if you can imagine it, even lazier.
Journalism is an action, not an identity. Journalism is a trade, and like most trades, you can learn the basics pretty easily, while the real expertise comes with doing it for many years. Teaching those basics is what J-school does. In a rational world, J-school would be attached to community colleges or technical schools, alongside classes in auto repair and woodworking (which offer much more promising career prospects). And although many fine affordable public colleges do teach journalism at a reasonable price, everyone knows that a young person’s most direct ticket to a job at a prestige media outlet is a degree from a prestige J-school. This is based not on a superior quality of instruction, but on the fact that Columbia and NYU, for example, are located in the epicenter of the media industry, have faculty with personal connections to fancy media employers, and are a convenient way for those fancy news outlets to screen the hordes of young people who would like to work for them. The New York Times et al get a prepackaged group of entry-level employees each year, and Columbia and NYU get to charge young people outrageous prices to buy that foot in the door, and also fancy journalists get a cushy place to go teach when they retire. The system works (as a scam that perpetuates itself)!
Regular expensive J-school is bad enough. But now—defying all rational belief—NYU has managed to make their J-school offering even more bullshit. This is an amazing breakthrough in bullshit science. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:
For the low, low price of $59,142, NYU will now allow you to obtain a 30-credit master’s degree in journalism purely through online classes. Please enjoy the use of scare quotes in NYU’s own description of this, uh, very exclusive academic program:
Before meeting (virtually speaking) in “class,” you’ll review interactive materials–videos, online modules containing guided readings, audio clips, games, even comic strips–that tie into the skill or lesson of the week... Once a week for “class,” you’ll log in to our video chat platform for live virtual meetings, which make the miles between you and the vast resources of NYU melt away.
Can’t wait to learn “journalism” in this “class!” If anything in the world is worth sixty thousand dollars, it is most certainly this “degree.” ;)
At the risk of getting too excited about this incredible professional educational opportunity, I urge you to read the answer to this “FAQ” as well:
NYU journalism graduates go on to work in newsrooms around the world as reporters, editors, producers, anchors, videographers, podcasters, fact-checkers and a plethora of other job titles—this industry is always changing.
It sure is. For example, they recently invented the $60,000 “American Journalism Online Master’s Program.” Shit just keeps getting crazier every year.
For one thousand dollars I will give you a stack of old New Yorkers and ask my boss if we have any available positions. (We don’t!)