J-School to Grad School?

Off The Bus Cover The Conventions Submission 

Erica A. Hernandez

Email: erica513@ufl.edu

Twitter: @EricaAlyssa

Website: www.ericaahernandez.blogspot.com


Thank you for your time and consideration. 

The importance of early decisions

I am a planner. I plan every little detail. Some of my friends call me obsessive compulsive, endearingly of course. Others simply call me “hysterica”, and it is true if I can’t plan sometimes I become hysterical.

This quirky personality trait has come in handy various times throughout my life and now it becomes almost necessary as I plan for my future. I have recently decided that I will be attending graduate school. This decision means a lot of things, for one it means I need to work on raising my GPA. But more importantly it means I have to start searching for a school.

For almost a year now I have been contemplating this choice, and even more intensely since the creation of this blog. Law school, business school, and journalism school: all options I looked at. Much to my mother’s dismay I have decided to peruse a graduate degree in journalism upon my graduation from the University of Florida in May 2015.

There are many reasons I picked this route but the main reason is that I am not sure exactly what my job will be for the rest of my life. I know I will always be involved with journalism and I am absolutely planning on being a reporter for a large chunk of my career but if one day I wake up and want to be an editor I would like to be able to do that.

It is not that I feel unsure about the future of print journalism, I feel unsure about my future more. My first year in college broadened my horizons greatly and I can no longer say that I am only interested in journalism. I am now interested in social media, sports, education, radio, advertising, photography, web development and much more. I am sure this will continue to grow as the years pass.

Right now I am exploring the University of Miami’s Masters of Arts program in Multimedia Journalism.

To those of you who are making this decision as well I offer three peices of advice:

1. Decide early, the last thing you want is to miss this opportunity for higher education.

2. If you have chosen to go to graduate school browse through realistic options. I am looking at options close to home because I know living at home will help me finance the expensive cost of graduate school. 

3. Plan it out. Look at the requirements for admission and plan accordingly. Take your GRE in-time. Raise your GPA. Send in your application early. Secure those stellar recommendation letters as soon as possible. You have been here before, think back to high school. Applying to college is a lot of work so be organized. 

This isn’t the last of my blog. I definitely will change my mind a few times in the next three years and when I do I will come back to this blog to help me research and work through my choice. I hope you do the same. 

Reporter, worst job ever? Really?

Reporter was named as the 5th worst job of 2012 recently. This has caused a lot of reflection among professionals in the business, journalism students and myself as well. 

The realities of a career in the newspaper business are grim and not to be ignored. With a negative 4.75 hiring prospect, being a working reporter seems like more of a dream then a reality. The truth is most people will not end up working in the field of journalism even if they studied it. 

That is why I feel it is so important to look at other options for after graduating from journalism school. I’m absolutely not encouraging anyone away from the field, I love journalism and could not imagine working in any other field. But there are still ways to work as a journalist and not be a traditional newspaper reporter, and I believe it is those options that are worth exploring now or even in graduate school because those will be the new journalism jobs. 

Exception to all the rules: Columbia Journalism School

There are few—if any—graduate school journalism programs that I feel are really worth it coming from a journalism undergraduate program, but Columbia is worth it in any case.

There is a reason that Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has consistently been ranked among the top, if not the No. 1 school for post-undergraduate journalism studies: their graduates are extremely successful.

Many factors contribute to CU’s success. The school is in a great location. New York City is a huge hub of international news and a major media market that houses some of the best internships in the county; internships that CU journalism students are close to. 

Another perk that sets CU’s program apart is a long list of distinguished alumni. The school was originally constructed with funds that Joseph Pulitzer had left the university in his will. The journalism school to this day is the distributer of the highly coveted Pulitzer Prizes, what more incentive could an ambitious journalist need?

With past graduates like Steve Kroft of 60 minutes and Andrea Elliot of the New York Times CU offers its students more than just a strong journalism education, they offer a network of past graduates who hold some of the most powerful potions in the journalism world.

Lastly CU’s staff is top tier, offering another round of possible connections for students and of course a priceless resource for students. Nicholas Lemann, dean and professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is an established journalist in his own right, like many other faculty members.

Lemann has contributed to the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, and the Washington Monthly.

That being said getting into CU isn’t particularly easy but if you can manage it there is no doubt as to whether it’s worth it or not.

CU offers a master of science or arts in communications as well as a doctorate of philosophy in communications. For more information visit their website http://www.journalism.columbia.edu/home

Photo of Newseum’s Berlin Wall galley exhibit by Erica A. Hernandez. 
All Journo Nerds Must Make Their Pilgrimage to Meccaa: Newseum 
There is one place that every journalism nerd must visit, whether or not they choose to attend graduate school: the hallowed halls of Washington, D.C.’s Newseum.
This museum is all about the news: the history of it, the importance of it and the future of it. Seven floors containing over 14 exhibits, Newseum is a must see in D.C. 
Within the 250,00 square-foot museum one can find pieces of the Berlin Wall, a 74-foot-high engraving of the First Amendment and of course a display of the day’s front pages from top newspapers all over the country. 
Every journalist can appreciate Newseum’s mission of “educating the public about the value of a free press in a free society and telling the stories of the world’s important events in unique and engaging ways.”
Check out Newseum’s website for a complete list of all their amenities, exhibits and special events.
http://www.newseum.org/
Just like any good news organization Newseum’s website and twitter feed offers up to the minute news updates and great synopsis of the current state of media.
Worth the trip to D.C. and if nothing else absolutely worth the trip to their website. 

Photo of Newseum’s Berlin Wall galley exhibit by Erica A. Hernandez. 


All Journo Nerds Must Make Their Pilgrimage to Meccaa: Newseum 

There is one place that every journalism nerd must visit, whether or not they choose to attend graduate school: the hallowed halls of Washington, D.C.’s Newseum.

This museum is all about the news: the history of it, the importance of it and the future of it. Seven floors containing over 14 exhibits, Newseum is a must see in D.C. 

Within the 250,00 square-foot museum one can find pieces of the Berlin Wall, a 74-foot-high engraving of the First Amendment and of course a display of the day’s front pages from top newspapers all over the country. 

Every journalist can appreciate Newseum’s mission of “educating the public about the value of a free press in a free society and telling the stories of the world’s important events in unique and engaging ways.”

Check out Newseum’s website for a complete list of all their amenities, exhibits and special events.

http://www.newseum.org/

Just like any good news organization Newseum’s website and twitter feed offers up to the minute news updates and great synopsis of the current state of media.

Worth the trip to D.C. and if nothing else absolutely worth the trip to their website. 

Photo of downtown Chicago by Erica Hernandez
Why I will not be sticking around Gainesville for a combined bachelor’s and master’s program
This year my university, the University of Florida, announced that their College of Journalism and communications will now offer a master’s degree program in mass communication with a focus in multimedia journalism. 
Many students feel that this is a great opportunity for them to continue their education after they complete their undergraduate degree. I however don’t think this program is for me. I have three good reasons as to why. 
1.   I need a city.
 After visiting Chicago this winter I realized how much I love buildings that are taller than 10 floors. The culture, freedom and lifestyle I grew up with in Miami has spoiled me. Little old Gainesville just isn’t doing it for me. With three more years left I see a glimpse of light at the end of a tunnel but add another year to that and my hope just might be lost. After I graduate I want to pack up all my belongings, move to a city I have never been to before and start reporting for the generous newspaper that was willing to hire me. 
2.   I have no intention of teaching. 
A good friend and fellow journo once told me: “go to grad school if you want to teach.” I happen to agree with her. All my professors have at least master’s degrees and they are all very knowledgeable. I respect them and appreciate them; our school would not be successful without them. I however do not foresee teaching in my future. I hope to one day be able to mentor a young journalist like so many nice professionals have done for me but I will always be in a newsroom, no more classrooms for me. 
3.   I want experience.
 After only a year of studying in large classroom and working in labs I already know that the more valuable experiences can be found outside of the four walls. I want to graduate, take the basics I learned in school and expand on them. I need to experience failures in real life situations, not in terms of failing grades. There is still so much left to learn after graduation and in a field like journalism there always will be. 
These are all personal reasons and by no means the only valid options or opinions. 

Photo of downtown Chicago by Erica Hernandez

Why I will not be sticking around Gainesville for a combined bachelor’s and master’s program

This year my university, the University of Florida, announced that their College of Journalism and communications will now offer a master’s degree program in mass communication with a focus in multimedia journalism.

Many students feel that this is a great opportunity for them to continue their education after they complete their undergraduate degree. I however don’t think this program is for me. I have three good reasons as to why.

1.   I need a city.

After visiting Chicago this winter I realized how much I love buildings that are taller than 10 floors. The culture, freedom and lifestyle I grew up with in Miami has spoiled me. Little old Gainesville just isn’t doing it for me. With three more years left I see a glimpse of light at the end of a tunnel but add another year to that and my hope just might be lost. After I graduate I want to pack up all my belongings, move to a city I have never been to before and start reporting for the generous newspaper that was willing to hire me.

2.   I have no intention of teaching.

A good friend and fellow journo once told me: “go to grad school if you want to teach.” I happen to agree with her. All my professors have at least master’s degrees and they are all very knowledgeable. I respect them and appreciate them; our school would not be successful without them. I however do not foresee teaching in my future. I hope to one day be able to mentor a young journalist like so many nice professionals have done for me but I will always be in a newsroom, no more classrooms for me.

3.   I want experience.

After only a year of studying in large classroom and working in labs I already know that the more valuable experiences can be found outside of the four walls. I want to graduate, take the basics I learned in school and expand on them. I need to experience failures in real life situations, not in terms of failing grades. There is still so much left to learn after graduation and in a field like journalism there always will be.

These are all personal reasons and by no means the only valid options or opinions. 

Photo of the Miami Herald building by Andrea Carroz. 
Journalism and business: converging fields.
About two weeks ago University of Florida’s Journalism Advisory Council was in Gainesville meeting with students and faculty to review our program. Speaking with the many working journalists from all over the nation one piece of advice resonated with me: chose a specialty they all said.

Journalism is more than just knowing how to write well, it’s also knowing what you’re writing about. That is why it is not only important to choose an appropriate minor (I am minoring in education so that I can cover an education beat) but it is also important to study an area besides the media if you choose to continue onto graduate school.
The options are vast and varied. A friend of mine is toying with the idea of attending receiving a masters degree in film studies after journalism underrate school so she can be the next great film critic.
A more traditional route would be attending business graduate school in an attempt to be a business writer.
Business is a growing field and there is a great demand for business writers, especially with the current economic turmoil facing our world. 
The Wall Street Journal is one of the few publications that has seen growth during the tough past few years, and this trend doesn’t seem to be coming to an end. 
There is a great push for journalist to become business savvy. UF journalism majors are even required to take economics courses, a fate through which I am suffering currently.
Though there are other options besides being a business reporter. Take David Landsberg for example. He is the president and publisher of the Miami Herald Media Co. He is also an MBA graduate from the University of Miami and he holds bachelors of finance from the University of Florida. Though he has no journalism tanning he has worked in the field for over 24 years.
Landsberg is a perfect example of someone who works on the business side of journalism, a growing era in desperate need of innovative and fresh approaches to the tradition publication business model.

So when it is time to send out those graduate school applications look at more than just the ever popular Colombia University master of journalism program because there is more to being a successful journalist than perfect AP style and killer leads: there is knowledge.            

Photo of the Miami Herald building by Andrea Carroz. 

Journalism and business: converging fields.

About two weeks ago University of Florida’s Journalism Advisory Council was in Gainesville meeting with students and faculty to review our program. Speaking with the many working journalists from all over the nation one piece of advice resonated with me: chose a specialty they all said.

Journalism is more than just knowing how to write well, it’s also knowing what you’re writing about. That is why it is not only important to choose an appropriate minor (I am minoring in education so that I can cover an education beat) but it is also important to study an area besides the media if you choose to continue onto graduate school.

The options are vast and varied. A friend of mine is toying with the idea of attending receiving a masters degree in film studies after journalism underrate school so she can be the next great film critic.

A more traditional route would be attending business graduate school in an attempt to be a business writer.

Business is a growing field and there is a great demand for business writers, especially with the current economic turmoil facing our world. 

The Wall Street Journal is one of the few publications that has seen growth during the tough past few years, and this trend doesn’t seem to be coming to an end. 

There is a great push for journalist to become business savvy. UF journalism majors are even required to take economics courses, a fate through which I am suffering currently.

Though there are other options besides being a business reporter. Take David Landsberg for example. He is the president and publisher of the Miami Herald Media Co. He is also an MBA graduate from the University of Miami and he holds bachelors of finance from the University of Florida. Though he has no journalism tanning he has worked in the field for over 24 years.

Landsberg is a perfect example of someone who works on the business side of journalism, a growing era in desperate need of innovative and fresh approaches to the tradition publication business model.

So when it is time to send out those graduate school applications look at more than just the ever popular Colombia University master of journalism program because there is more to being a successful journalist than perfect AP style and killer leads: there is knowledge.