Build-your-own j-school

In response to the constantly changing journalism industry, which demands both diversified skills and specific expertise, the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism has just announced the introduction of a specialized journalism Master’s program, which would allow students to design their own curricula.

The nine-month M.A. program—offered in addition to the straight-up journalism M.A. Annenberg offers—will allow students to further their education with fundamental journalistic skills and also specialize in whatever sort of writing they fancy, be it music reporting or science journalism.

Geneva Overholser, director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, posted about the program at the Online Journalism Review. She wrote:

“We have hired some of the best minds in the new-media world and melded them with our distinguished journalism faculty. And all of this exists within the exciting environment of a full-service School of Communication and Journalism that values the creation of new knowledge about this age-old craft we call journalism, as well as the many different ways we can now serve the public’s information needs. And, assuming you can carve out the time, you can participate in Annenberg’s news outlets on every platform and take advantage of the unparalleled diversity of experiences that Southern California offers.”

Additionally, the program aims to equip students with digital and social media skills to better prepare graduates to enter the world of online journalism.

I’ve always been hesitant to take the grad school track after j-school, because I wondered how much I would really get out of it after completing (fingers crossed!) a Bachelor’s degree in the same subject. But this program has really piqued my interest. If only I could get over the sticker-shock of the cost of an American graduate degree. (Tuition for nine months is about twice what I’ve paid for my entire undergraduate education.)  

Better hold out for a fellowship.