Grads Breathe Sigh of Relief… And Search for Jobs
at the Columbia University School of Journalism say that now they
are graduated, they are not only broke, but some add that they
were dissatisfied with the education they received at the institution
that regards itself as the top-rated journalism program in the
Camille Finefrock, who took the Bronx Beat workshop, describes
a mixed experience at the school. “Some professors and classes
are amazing—they will push you to the limit of what you are capable
of. Other classes, however, are a bit of a joke,” she explains.
“ I am not convinced that the school really turns students into
But the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the school, David
Klatell, disagrees. “We turn students into journalists in ten
months only if they are already well educated, good writers and
have a strong social conscience,” he says. “The vast majority
do become journalists, and they carry the lessons learned at Columbia
throughout their professional careers.”
Before J-school, Matt Bean, a graduate of the University of Chicago,
was a graphic designer. “I think the J-school began as a way for
me to escape medicine, and ended up teaching me a great deal.”
Bean, 23, is one of the youngest students in the class that graduated
on May 16th. “I’m still not sure if it’s worth it,” he says.
According to the admissions office, there were 258 graduating
students, 60 percent female and 40 percent male. The average age
was 27 and a half; the youngest was 21, the oldest, 60.
Angelica Medaglia says she hasn’t has the time to look for a job
during her ten-month ‘boot camp’ training, but she hopes to work
for a local newspaper. “I got a little older, wiser, and a lot
deeper in debt,” she says.
the J-school, I’m looking forward to being unemployed for a long,
long time,” says Charles Hawley, who plans to freelance this summer
in Munich, Germany.
Nat Ives was skeptical about the $30,000 tuition investment when
he left a reporting job for at a real estate trade company for
Columbia. Now, he says his experience was a good one. “I learned
a lot through practice, close editing and doing assignments I
would rather have avoided at the school,” says Ives, a student
in Al Gore’s national affairs reporting class. “Unfortunately
the job market tanked a few months before graduation, and with
a week to go, I have no job.”
Melanie Huff, Director of Career Services, explains that magazines
and newspapers have hiring freezes because their ad revenue and
stock values are down. “They are saving money by not hiring and/or
laying off workers,” she says. “However, the vast majority of
our students will have journalism jobs in the next three to six
But while Columbia may not guarantee immediate employment, Dean
Klatell points out that Columbia provides opportunities to work
with excellent professors. “Our faculty, particularly with the
assistance of more than 100 adjunct professors who are full-time
journalists, offers an unrivaled wealth of experience and expertise.”
A photojournalism student, Jennifer Pinkowski, says she is happy
that the intense training is finally over. “J-school has meant
exhaustion, exhilaration and learning that sometimes it’s more
than okay to talk to strangers.”
Lebun graduated from the
J-School in May. Congratulations!
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