Good for Medill.
I admit, when I first heard that my alma mater, Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism (we'll get to its official name later) had let its academic accreditation lapse, my immediate instinct — call it "Columnist's Reflex" — was to draw back my foot and deliver a kick.
What is college but reputation? And Medill Dean Bradley Hamm's assessment of the review process — "It's relatively superficial, extremely time consuming and doesn't lead us to a goal of significant improvement. It's sort of a low bar." — is true for college in general. And yet they still encourage young people to attend.
Then I reconsidered. Why does a journalism school — excuse me, a journalism, integrated marketing, storytelling and whatever else they fancy themselves this week school — need official sanction? A merit badge, a Good Housekeeping seal, a kiss on the forehead from some pooh bah? Look around. The number of newsroom jobs is half what it was 20 years ago. Circulation and ad revenues hemorrhage. People get their news from three bullet points on their smartphones. While the president of the United States daily damns the entire profession to his millions of reality-challenged followers who lap it up, being the sort of people who believe the "Fast and Furious" films are documentaries.
Do you really need to go to an accredited journalism school to slave for some obscure website? I don't think so. Fog a mirror, agree to grind out steaming piles of content for whatever Dickensian online workhouse they're running and you're in. Frankly, the higher quality school you went to, the more galling the penury that awaits. Five years after graduating from Medill, I was unemployed for the third time, telling myself that my patchwork of humiliating low-level jobs was a freelance career....
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