Where should you go?
Each journalism school is unique. Let’s consider some examples.
The recently founded City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism’s thrust is ostensibly to train journalists to cover the world’s oppressed and disenfranchised. This is certainly an intriguing twist and, some will say, one that is long overdue. It is likely that The Nation and similar publications will gobble up those graduates. If this has a visceral appeal to you, by all means visit the school and talk to as many people there as possible. It location in central Manhattan is one of its major calling cards.
Alternatively, Stanford’s graduate program is steeped in rigorous intellectually oriented coursework. The three-quarter program is very small by design (about a dozen students). This means that each enrollee has a highly tailored learning experience, working one-on-one with faculty on research initiatives and area specialization. Students are pushed to sample courses offered throughout the university to meet their intellectual passions.
The University of Texas at Austin is a more traditional journalism school with standard options in photojournalism, print and broadcast journalism. Its professional track enables a student with an undergraduate journalism degree and/or professional experience who is already familiar with journalistic techniques to broaden and advance her or his job qualifications through M.A. work. The other kind of student who can be found in this program has little journalistic background and seeks marketable professional training to accompany an undergraduate degree in another field such as humanities, the fine arts, performing arts, engineering or the sciences.
It is recommended that students with little or no background in journalism take additional qualifying undergraduate coursework in writing and the humanities to shore up their writing skills. But the most helpful action is to do journalism: Write for a college newspaper or community newsletter. That way you can build a portfolio for your journalism applications.
In sum, care should be taken when deciding where to apply because the schools can vary considerably in culture, quality and fit. Entablature, LLC can walk you through that process by making sure that you are posing the right questions to yourself as well as to school officials that you will meet at graduate school fairs or when visiting the schools.