Courses Journalism Schools Should Teach

    by Jashvina Shah
    July 23, 2015
    Photo by Nottingham Trent University on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

    I graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism. I’m currently unemployed and cover college hockey mostly for free, so I freelance on the side. Despite not having a full-time job, I don’t regret graduating with a journalism degree.

    I’m actually pretty lucky, since I learned a lot of skills at BU. I took a multimedia journalism class, a magazine class and a broadcast journalism class (where we produced a sports show every week). So I learned basic design, photography, video and digital media skills, which have been important for me the past few years.

    "Journalism students need the core and creative skills, but they also need the practical skills. They need to know how to get a job (how to network), how to freelance, write invoices, manage taxes and how to pitch yourself or your ideas."

    When I graduated — jobless — in 2013, I moved back to New Jersey and created Eye on the Tigers for Princeton hockey coverage (this is technically my full-time job, except I don’t get paid for it). While covering the team, I’ve lived off the skills I learned at BU. I started with writing and expanded to video, interactives, photography and social media.


    I do a lot for the site — shoot and edit photos and video, write features, make interactives, run social media, create graphics for the site and for social media, run a WordPress website, manage plugins, analyze stats, keep navigation concise (that’s harder than it seems). I also manage social media, and I have to keep it engaging. I monitor recruits, projected rosters, alumni, and more.

    Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture and used here with Creative Commons license.

    Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture and used here with Creative Commons license.

    My multimedia class (taught by Michelle Johnson) made all of this (designing graphics, editing photography, using interactives) a lot easier. But I’ve still had to learn a lot on my own. I freelance on the side, and there’s so much I was never taught  —  like how to file an invoice.


    Journalism students need the core and creative skills, but they also need the practical skills. They need to know how to get a job (how to network), how to freelance, write invoices, manage taxes and pitch yourself or your ideas.

    So if I could fix journalism courses, here’s what I would include:

    • How to freelance: Freelancing is hard. You have to know how to pitch stories, how much to charge, how to write invoices, what freelancing groups to join, and — most importantly – how to file taxes. Freelancing can be important for young journalists starting out, so journalism schools should teach these basics because I had no clue how to do any of this when I started freelancing.
    • Branding: This is really important. Branding can happen naturally with journalists who are involved in social media, but teaching this should help.
    • Design graphics for social media: Maybe this is just me, since I design all the graphics for my site and its social media on my own. But it’s helpful if you know how to throw together a quick quote graphic for social media, especially when you’re tweeting a story. (Canva is what I use. It’s great.)
    • Social media: There is so much you can do with social media beyond just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Snapchat and Pinterest have a lot of power too. Even with channels like Twitter and Instagram, journalists could benefit from knowing how to analyze each channel and make it more engaging. Social media is also a great way to monitor news. How do you think I find out who’s committed to Princeton? (Side note: Aside from Twitter, Snapchat is my favorite social media channel. You can add as much media as you want to your Snap story, and it doesn’t get lost (like it does with Twitter).)
    Photo by Jason Howie on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonahowie/

    Photo by Jason Howie on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.


    • Photography : I was lucky that Prof. Johnson taught us basic photography. Her class is actually how I got started with hockey photography. The basic editing skills helped too, as did some Photoshop skills I learned in my magazine class. But other things, like fixing color balance, I had to learn on my own (which matters because I shoot hockey at Baker Rink, where the lighting isn’t good and some pictures show up orange).
    • Video shooting and editing: You should be able to shoot and edit your own videos.
    • How to run a website: We actually also learned this in my online journalism class since we made an online portfolio for our final project. WordPress is pretty easy to use, and it’s a “skill” many companies look for. It can also help later on if you start your own site, as I did.

    I also think all schools should teach students how to send networking emails. And how to network in general because these skills don’t come naturally.

    Jashvina Shah covers Princeton hockey for Eye On The Tigers and covers the Big Ten for College Hockey News. She graduated from Boston University in 2013, where she spent her time covering women’s lacrosse, women’s hockey and finally men’s hockey for two seasons.

    Tagged: branding courses curriculum fake photos freelance medium networking social media

    2 responses to “Courses Journalism Schools Should Teach”

    1. John Whelan says:

      As a retired journalist and journalism professor, Jashvina, I found your essay well written and bursting with good, practical suggestions. I’m a BC guy, but BU should be proud of you. Hope you find a way into the business soon, because we’d benefit from having you.

    2. Garlanda Goldwin says:

      Hi, I write for the remote telepathic spaceship communication, done over the higher dimension, which will eventually gather the foreign spaceships here to our world as a viable destination and let us into the big wide interstellar community. They are eager to meet us by the way. Just as even Marc Zuckerberg has come out and mentioned the use of computerised telepathy between individuals soon, I use the data filled molecular landscape of the Earth near high dimension to, telepathically, increasingly influence the operation of the available spaceship traffic ‘out there’ and also actually talk to some their officers on board in a wide swathe of the universe. I have been fully trained in how to offer the remote commands from conscious telepathic humanity that they can understand. It will result in the arrival of all these legitimate teams of spaceships already trying to find us, numbering hundreds, and I will be able to open the higher dimension also as a part of their normal technology. This is the large leap into the interstellar standard technology and the sizeable group of remote interstellar spaceship psychics can accomplish this in a few incredible years. I have all the methods of doing this. I ask for journalist and media strategists, to join the team now till we can get the presentation to a standard where, for instance, Jony Ive will easily accept when it crosses his desk, as a senior advertising friend of mine has said he will do. I just don’t have the skills to achieve that. My work is all in the practical methods of bringing the many questing spaceships here. Let’s say in that field I am equal and senior to Jony Ives and this is the most utterly disruptive thing on the planet. The school kids whose jobs will be affected, the top executives of Apple who will need to make that jump into the higher dimension world of molecular technology without hard wear even soon than they thought and the many people who would hope their relatives, recently passed on, might be able to take advantage of the newly emerging technology our group will gradually build to release them – to our physical world.The high dimension is travelled as you would ‘travel’ in a straight line across the inside of a big spiral shell. Then if, at a point chosen as a destination, your spaceship ‘stepped out’ of the almost eternal higher dimension shell that a ‘heaven’ represents, hiding the masses of spaceships flying over us, and hopped into the near ‘out of space’ landscape, hopefully in the vicinity of a particular solar system, likes ours, you would witness the almost miraculous arrival of the general commercials spaceship traffic here that is my profession. We need media professionals to build the whole business from lots of photoshop work to a whole team of serious journalists who watch as we build this giant high dimension opening, I can do it. It is a long arduous five year project and with growing evidence can be a media festival. Using the big quartz crystals that help we remote psychics reach the far planets waiting for us, I believe we will have proof of the higher dimension opening, seen as an increasing golden light after a short couple of years. Do you have any experience in preparing a big presentation like this to cross the desks of the A-list investors? Because I am not going near crowd funding. Really The response I’m receiving at this stage is so positive it just needs to be ‘put on Jony Ives desk.’ Can you help me do the presentation pleaser? It needs a big experienced advertising art director as well. Let me inform you I have the support of Steve Jobs in this project and he is the official Earth patron of it. The hint I have received is to ask for a team already working together somewhere in San Francisco etc., We need hundreds of these psychics employed on the West Coast first. A team for receiving interstellar arrivals is operational at around a hundred of these psychics and we expect to have three teams all working at senior psychic rates of mostly $200 a hour to pull it off. That’s a huge wage bill. And no you won’t do it with two or ten of these psychics. I apologise to ask you for our first initiative here but with its academic air it seems much more suitable to me than a mere social media Facebook post. However if you want to see my current affairs reporting I would ask you for someone who is interested to organise a blog I have been writing for with articles ‘spoken from he psychic world which I wish to call ‘The Near Earth News.’ The actual presence of the souls of heaven who wish to come through to our actual earth for lives again fascinating but I leave you to make up your minds by taking a look through the only social media presence I have so far, being totally inundated with work and unable to meet my publishing goals with only rudimentary internet and computer skills. My knowledge base is the broadest on this vital new field on the planet. I know how to start it, how to defend it and how to open this higher dimension further and I intend to be standing at the big opening along with a great contingent of media when the first spaceship arrivals begin. There will be a series of events where we welcome back the ‘dead’ who haven’t passed on to other lives, into the localities in the near Earth dimension openings here. This is about as close to a public contact I can get. Can someone find someone to fund me. We don’t expect it to take less than a billion dollars and believe me I would take a million or so dollars for myself first. I have devoted my life to researching it. The blueprints for the sort of communication that our world needs to be sending out into the higher space travel shell regularly. If you come to me I can put those spaceships in our hands. real spaceships from a real project over four or five years and forming strategic partnerships with some of America’s biggest investors. I’d go to the American government to form this first big interstellar remote guidance agency, but they are way behind. So I must seek the funding from a large entity such as Apple Corporation. In my own writing I can’t get them to even begin to read my extensive writings on the modes of making contact and maintaining contact while we are able to facilitate their first journey in from the higher dimension reaches of space. I am sure that this is the way we will first ‘find’ them and they us. I am an expert in this and though my funds for a media presence are severely limited to non existent, I expect you to hear about me in the future. I am a psychic, I was a fashion designer and I was one of the senior California Eckists and have been writing for the past twenty years. I write directly for the leading souls of heaven. Call it what you will, it’s not religious.Believe me I know my way into the interstellar communication circuit. Now will you let me into the American public’s attention and assist me into Tim Cooke’s office in that historic meeting – that surely cannot be too far off now. The size of the body of my work is al ready enough to keep a Stanford department with a couple of Professors busy. Do I come up well on camera? I used too. Steve Jobs says he doesn’t think it’s going to take too much to get me near to a serious investor and then all sorts of things are possible. But he wants Apple to come in as our first big strategic partner. That’s Steve. And he is my particular writing partner and friend now. We need; editors, photoshop and photo illustrator artist to do the drawings that keep up with the psychic spaceship computer links. My training leaves any other psychics who may enter this field about seven or eight years behind me now. If you join us you may have the opportunity to become one of the ground floor financial beneficiaries of the astonishing new interstellar industries. I intend to create a central hub for the export of all the new technologies my group will receive on contact arriving, such as rain making, body regeneration and ultra clean manufacturing that these allies from many planets wish to bring us. With the proper funding I think we can have all these imported interstellar technologies within a few short years, maybe seen or eight maximum. Steve jobs said he would like Apple to fund at least two of them – and the way he sees it each one of them is a commitment of about a hundred million. Got the concept? So help me forward it. I feel someone there who reads this will know how to a market this. There’s lots of money in it you know. I’m hoping for a few partners out of this. It genuinely is news. It may be the only chance I have to put up something official for another three months. that’s how far behind I am all the time. The project requires lots of writing from the passed souls who wish to be part of the current affairs of this event. My thanks for your time and any contributions you may think you can do. Can you do anything? Steve Jobs and I and my team of senior earth human specialist in this work, having observed he spaceships as they come and go from here for hundreds of years are a nice group of people to work for and we hope to welcome a few more of your financial partners. Even if you’re a junior team from a college we can have work for you. Cheers. Garlanda.

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