by Sonia Su
One of the many ridiculously useless nuggets of wisdom taught to us senior journalism students: “Every quote needs attribution.”
It’s not hard to see why I have such impatience with this particular required class. I can’t stand learning the basics of journalism again. Sure, one class on the fundamentals of journalism during freshman year may have been helpful, but put me in another class that requires writing stories we’ve all written countless times over the years, and I will whine and whine and whine.
Once you get the newswriting formula down, it’s like simple math. Once you know how to add numbers, you don’t need to take another course on adding, well, MORE NUMBERS.
Sure, in the case of journalism, the more experience you have, the better—but do I really need to waste several thousand dollars to write a story on how people are wiping out kale at grocery stores? (No joke, I got an A on that story—and every story so far.)
No. I do not.
I think the most fun I’ll have in this class already happened—covering a startup competition as a “meeting story.” LOL.
Oh, and a light at the end of the tunnel—two-time Pulitzer winner and New York Times columnist Nick Kristof will be coming to BU at the end of the semester, and we’re covering it.
Anyway, case in point: Journalism programs everywhere need to be consistently revisited and revamped. In this always-changing digital world, professors need to adapt and adjust to what students already know. Sorry to break it to the older generations—we’ve always been one step ahead.
So does that mean studying journalism is a waste? Unlike Anna Holmes in Cosmo (she visited our class yesterday!) who said it was “a fucking waste of money,” I like to think that while journalism programs, even at such a reputable school as COM, are severely flawed, there is value in the experiences that journalism programs help to put us in. COM is really trying, with bringing in David Carr (RIP) and Ta-Nahisi Coates as faculty, and I’m very proud of COM for that. At the same time, the students who find the program redundant are the ones who gained their own experiences and skills working both on and off campus. And COM can’t claim credit for that.
You do learn a lot on the job, and all you need in journalism is passion. Honestly, if I hadn’t added a business minor, I would feel even worse about spending my parents’ money on learning how to write stories as a graduating senior.
Maybe it is a huge fucking waste, but at the same time, I know for certain that I would not have had some of the most amazing experiences and opportunities I’ve had while a student here. Did I need to study journalism, though—versus studying something that I actually can’t learn on the job? That’s seriously debatable.
Note: I wrote most of this while in said class.