Phi Beta Cons

The Right vs. J-School, Once Again

At The Daily Caller, a guy who recently finished Medill’s grad-school program has a rather weak indictment of the school. (Disclosure: I went to Medill for undergrad.)

The smoking guns? Some professors made liberal comments on an e-mail listserv, the school brings in more liberal speakers than conservative ones, and faculty (including the dean) tend to donate more money to Democrats than Republicans.

This is hardly surprising, and it’s not clear what we’re supposed to conclude from it, beyond the obvious fact that Medill profs, like profs just about everywhere, have a left-wing slant and don’t always hide it. The writer suggests that Medill might be “just” a trade school (journalism is a trade, and he took a one-year program that leaves little time for more general liberal-arts classes, so I’m not sure why this surprised him), and even that it’s unethical for journalism professors to donate their own money to political candidates (huh?).

I’ve offered a limited defense of journalism school a few times before (see here). No, you don’t need a journalism degree to become a journalist, and yes, a journalism degree with no second major and no liberal-arts requirements could be completed in far shorter than four years. Yes, journalism is a trade, and therefore you can call journalism school “trade school” if it pleases you. But there are benefits to taking some journalism classes, especially if coupled with some internships and a double major in something you’d like to write about.

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