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Author Topic: literary...journalism?
Member # 10525

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Let me start by saying I'm one very confuzzled teenager.

I'm a junior this fall, and am trying to work out my choice of colleges now so as to better set my high school years around it; know what electives to take, what extra-curricular activities to pursue, etc.

However, I'm very perplexed. I know very little about how college degrees actually worked, and was wondering if you learned people could help me in any form, along with several other people I've talked to, of course.

I am planning on being both an author and a sports journalist.

I wasn't sure what degrees to pursue to acheive this, nor would I know what schools have a well-founded journalism/broadcasting/multimedia department as well as a good english department, focus on literature.

Could you recommend any schools?

Also, what technical degree do I need? I'd prefer a masters, but I wasn't sure how to balance a major and a minor. Do I need a major in English and a minor in journalism, considering that journalism is my biggest interest and authoring my second, or the other way around?

Is there a way to double major?

Any help or suggestions of good schools, or advice on what to do, would be greatly appreciated. I also am fully open to answering questions if you're confused, as I am.

I knew that hatracker [hatrackians? hatrackites?] would be some good, knowledgeable people to ask on this subject.

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Member # 827

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Can I ask what kind of schools you are looking at, and what part of the country you live in?

For instance, Columbia has a wonderful journalism program, but it's a selective school in a very expensive location. Depending on where you are, you are just as likely to be better going to a school closer. Where do you want to work afterwards? Not a paper, necessarily, but what city/part of the country?

If you know those things, that would make a difference.

If you don't know those things, I'll give my advice: Don't wrack up debt, especially for an undergrad. I know so many people who make bank that are still living like students because of their enormous student debt. Worse, there are jobs they'd love to do but can't afford to take because it wouldn't cover both living expenses and their student debt payments. Since journalism is notoriously not as well paid as other professions, taking on huge debt (which may not be an issue - it would have been for me) to go to a school like Columbia may not be worth it.

For the major...it depends on the school, I think. In terms of which to major in and which to minor in, I'd major in journalism since that's the profession you want to move into. I would also spend as much time as possible getting as much experience as possible while you're in school - the school paper, internships during the summer, everything you can. The more practical experience you have, the less important what your exact major was.

If you want to be an author, studying literary criticism is not going to help - it's an entirely different kind of writing, and it will change the way you think of writing. If your goal was to be an academic I'd say go for it, but if it is to be an author, I'd say major in journalism and minor in creative writing, if that's possible.

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Member # 124

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If you want to be a sports journalist, you had better major in either communications or journalism. You can be an author with any degree, as long as you have the right kind of brain.
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Print sports journalism isn't exactly a growth field, but if that's your dream....

Major in history, biology, psychology or international relations at a University that has a paper that lets anybody write for it and then do whatever it takes to get on the newspaper staff. Already having some clips would help, so...

I would start right now by volunteering to write for your local newspaper and/or volunteering to be the sports info officer (or assistant to one) for your local high school, community college, whatever.

Why do I suggest you major in those fields? Because they are good core fields for getting into many professional programs or master's degree programs should you change your mind. What's more they will provide a good base of knowledge for a career in journalism. If you find that you'd really like to learn journalism in an academic setting then work for a year or two and then apply to a master's program.

The absolute key thing, though, is to find a college that allows anybody to write for the paper -- preferably one that puts out issues five days a week (or 7). And then put in a ton of time at it. That can be difficult to do and get good grades in your coursework, but it can be done.

And then when you realize there's no money in journalism, sell out and join the dark side (public relations). [but seriously -- sports information officer can be a grueling, low-paying job, but it can also be very cool. Not that I know from personal experience -- I do pr for the academic and administrative sides and not athletics].

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Member # 10525

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Thanks for all the help!
katharina-I didn't think it was very important what part of the country I went to, as I plan on traveling later in life and I have family all over. If i couldn't have a school in either Texas or Mississippi, where my Mom/Dad live, respectively, I figured it would be nice to go to a school in either Michigan or Ohio, where my older sister is, and is going to U of M the same year I graduate high school. Having her in close proximity could be a great influence on my college years, with an older role model whose going through/been through the same thing I am.

However, I'm not entirely closed off to going to an outside school, as I stated.

Thanks for your creative writing tip, I'll consider that. If I majored in journalism, I suppose that that would help greatly broaden the spectrum of schools to which I would apply.

I will consider your notes on debt, however I'm not worried about it, for a reason which I will explain later.

TomDavidson: Thank you, I don't know if I'll major in Communications, but I might because I'm interested in pursuing multimedia broadcasting and journalism which leads me to

Zalmoxis: My high school requires a yearly foret into an outside business as either a public service or an internship; for this I will attempt to intern at our local paper.

I will also be involved in as many school functions as possible, although, as a not-terribly wealthy Southern Miss. school, it doesn't exactly have many worthwhile publications. But I'll apply myself nonetheless.

I've been an excellent [in my opinion] writer since I was very young [think single digits] and should have no problem getting a post at the paper either way.

I've also considered getting into the local radio my college may offer, etc.

And here comes the big, shocking reveal: the reason I wish to get into multimedia sports relations, including but not limited to, video, internet, television broadcast, print, etc., is to be a journalist for a particular sport: or rather, sports entertainment.

I'll be honest and say I was a little nervous approaching you all and saying I was interested in professional wrestling as a venture.

However, there are no other women in this field, and I have hoped since I was young to be the first major female commentator/journalist in the business.

Yes, I know it's a longshot. I wouldn't have explored it if I wasn't fully aware of the monetary implications that go with those who have to "pay their dues" for the first few years.

I figured I could begin in the field of journalism, intern at local papers, pursue the internet or lower market fields to begin with, meaning jobs at lesser known publications, and then hopefully within a few years I could get a job at one of the higher renowned publications such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated, the Sports Illustrated of the wrestling world, or at its sister publications The Wrestler and Inside Wrestling.

If I worked there for a good few years, coupled with broadcasting work, I can get a commentating and/or broadcasting job with one of the local indy feds and then work up to one of the major promotions. Or, should I have gotten a job at the Mecca that is Pro Wrestling Illustrated I could have died happy.

I understand this completely changes the dynamic of everything...but I was [hopefully] understandably afraid coming in her mentioning all this point-blank. Actually, come to think of it, that's exactly what I should have done.

Nonetheless, I feel that pursuing a career along these lines, instead of sacrificing my body in the ring, could help sustain me throughout my life, whereas as a wrestler I would have a maximum span of up until 35, and that's without injuries, and only with the necessary looks.

If I so decided to wrestle, which I have decided to do as a venture for the first twenty years or so, the journalism would help get me in and throughout the business, and the commentary could help sustain me after I retired from in-ring combat, more than likely sometime before my 40th birthday.

But, nonethless, as well-thought out I have this, as well-thought out plans of being a professional wrestler/profesional wrestling journalist/professional wrestling commentator can be, my main concern was how to find good colleges to pursue this, while still allowing me to follow my favorite hobby that is writing.

Hm. What an odd post. Perhaps not the oddest you've had, but certainly one of the oddest considering how it started.

[Big Grin]

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Member # 6877

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My uncle has worked as the commentator for the SWWF. The path he took to that was, played in minor-league baseball, got a gig as an announcer for minor-league baseball, got a gig as an announcer for the Diamondbacks, got a gig as an announcer for the SWWF. Got his own action figure.


I think he never finished college; I forget what he majored in...

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I understand this completely changes the dynamic of everything...
It does. To be a female wrestling commentator, I think you need only be passably attractive and willing to wear revealing clothes while lying.
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Member # 7625

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That's what I call a specific career goal.

I'd advise you to keep your options open. Ask yourself what job you could enjoy doing if you DON'T make it in the pro-wrestling world, and get a degree that helps you do that.

Then practice pretending to be angry, falling without hurting yourself, and imitating the diction of existing commentators, while you go to school and establish some job experience that would be widely applicable.

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Member # 827

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GO for it.

I'd keep the bit about debt in mind, though - nothing will stifle dreams and shut down possibilities for interesting but not-immediately-lucrative jobs like a student loan payment of a thousand dollars a month. I have several friends with that burden, and while they don't precisely wish they hadn't gone to the schools they did, they regret the opportunities they can't take because of the debt burden.

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Member # 10525

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katharina- Thank you! I was so worried because I hear people say things like "Don't try it" all the time, and I"m not giving up. Things like that are inspirational to me.

I'm not worried about debt; my sister [my role model] is a 27year old mother, who's just in january starting to go to school full-time, and she's intelligent enough to make it to U of M on a scholarship program from Washtenaw alone; the reason i correlate this is that with perserverance and intelligence you can do anything.

TomDavidson...That's true. I am what's considered very attractive by modern standards [I'm not conceited, don't you worry]. and generally wearing revealing clothes doesn't worry me. However, I feel that with the changing business, I can still be sexy without being whorish. And you don't understand how imporant the ability to speak is. I could be a perfect 12, but if I couldn't orate well I would be booed out of the building, I assure you.

scifibum:I enjoy both writing and journalism, which is why I'm pursuing that in the wrestling world as well as normal wrestling, because I know that that will help me throughout my career.

And I have been studying wrestling and oration since I was young, I even briefly attended a wrestling school, and am going back to wrestling school sometime within the next year or so.

Thank you all, and I assure you I did not tread into this lightly. You understand, much like many writers, athletes, etc., other than writing, I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

Which is why I want to succeed in the business in any and every facet.

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I haven't read all the responses, but here's my 2 cents:

I work at a newspaper. Our sports department hires people in high school to cover games and write stories. That's one way to get a feel for the journalism angle.

Yes, newspapers are struggling - yesterday the Des Moines Register announced they are laying off 26 people and not fill another 11 positions. The Register is the largest newspaper in Iowa, and the one against which my paper has to compete in some contests. Their newsroom is much larger than ours.

On the other hand, my paper is trying to expand its Web presence. So newspapers aren't just ignoring the trends, they're trying to keep going. And without the print, we wouldn't have anything to base our Web site on.

Back to the original thought: It's possible that you might be able to work at a paper before going to college, to get experience and knowledge that can help you in your future career.

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Member # 10525

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You should read all the responses; they're quite interesting.

Anyway, I figure I could very easily get a job at my local paper. My school has a mandatory internship program every year, and I figure I'll try for there. I might even be able to get a regular job; beats McDonalds.

the Sea Coast Echo is hardly a hard paper to get onto.

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