Thursday, 2 October 2014

Justification for higher education: the journalism front

The following is my entry for UCAS’s 2014 Love Learning competition. It is a short piece which explains just what it is I find so captivating about studying and practicing journalism at undergraduate level.

Justification for higher education: it isn't this...

No matter which way you put it, today’s graduate market is a bleak one. Unemployment is high, competition is excruciating and that elusive graduate position is but a pipe dream. Breaking into journalism in a good economy is tough; nowadays it is incredibly so.

So why is it that I do what I do? What is my motivation, in an era where further education begins at £27,000 to train for a role of which I have no guarantee? 

I have found that it is so much more than a mere qualification or career path; journalism enables me to experience life by immersing me in it. 

Reporting on something puts me at its centre, making me a small part of history. And I get to tell that history as it happens. More than simply putting pen to paper, journalism is about connecting people and ideas. 

Journalism allows me to learn about individuals, to see the world with their view. One of the most dignified people I have met sells the Big Issue for a living. Were it not for journalism, I’d have passed him without a glance, never knowing or telling his story. Nobody would have known he chooses to live in a tent because he loves to travel and from his weathered exterior, no one would guess his enthralling life account.

It involves me closely with my passion of cars, allowing access which I would otherwise lack. Had I not been writing for my favourite magazine, I would never have felt the adrenaline of an accelerating Porsche, how the scenery rushes into a blur whilst witnessing the engine come alive. I would still be reading about, rather than experiencing it firsthand. 

Studying journalism has given me the confidence to go out and seek knowledge, to ask the questions we all wonder about, and to speak with the people who have an anecdote to share. The immense gratification of publishing an article is matched by the satisfaction knowing that I’ve shared my knowledge and experience for the world to read. With the internet, my work is accessible by millions internationally; millions who can converse, interact and subsequently share their own view.

Writing is just a part of a journalism student’s training however, as for someone with a passion, a necessity of devouring current  affairs, sinking oneself in the context of journalism is a sheer delight. Learning of how Caxton’s introduction of the printing press revolutionized consumption of news in the 15th Century; how social media is doing the same today. To be inspired by the investigative work of Woodward and Burnstein, how they uncovered a governmental scandal and toppled a president in what became known as Watergate.

Although training as a journalist will not make me a millionaire, it will offer an enrichment and variety that no blank cheque can buy. Nothing worth having is easy to acquire, but to experience life through learning? That is fulfillment through and through. 

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