College classes

I’m doing a little research to help the Wartburg College Communication Arts Department. I’m curious what you thought of your college experience in your academic world. If you could send me a response in comments or to that would be great.

What classes in college got you ready for your real-world job in the communication field?

If you’re a TV reporter or producer, what skill helped you land your job?

Did you learn something from a class you didn’t think was going to give you much when first signed up for it?

Was there a class you heard about at another school that you thought your school should offer?

Should you be required to take only classes in your major?

More internships? Less?

More writing? Less?

More hands on classes and labs?

Should TV wannabes take more writing? All production?

If you went to Wartburg, what class was a waste of time? What was the best use of your time?

Thanks for taking a few minutes for me.


7 thoughts on “College classes

  1. I didn’t have a traditional journalism education…. I was a business admin/history double-major.

    I always felt the business classes really helped me when I was a reporter and, of course, still today in the pr world.

    I was often the only reporter on staff who really understood how to look at all those school board/city council budgets and know what they meant. That’s one thing I think college journalism programs do a poor job of… training students in some of the not-so-exciting business of understanding budgets/accounting/etc.

  2. Communications Law is by far the class that helps me the most in my job. It keeps me out of trouble. Working at the newspaper and developing a portfolio was integral in GETTING a job. I also believe at least one internship is important. Networking among alumni of your college and meeting others is key.

    All broadcasters should know how to write a story for print and vice versa. Convergence is the future and someone who can play across all platforms is the person who will still be employed in 10 years.

    1. I agree on the law class. Very helpful in understanding your rights, but also being able to figure out what a lawsuit says.

      Great points, Francie. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Paul, I think the biggest thing that landed me my first job out of college was my multiple internships. Real world experience really is the most attractive aspect in a candidate. One class that I think I got the most out of was “Marketing Yourself: Job Seeking Strategies”. It taught you how to network, write a resume, network, how to search for a job, following up, on the job tips, etc. It was one of the most valuable classes I took. I’ve interviewed multiple college students and many don’t understand how to handle the process correctly. I think colleges should be better preparing students how to go through the process of finding a job. And a course like that could do that.

  4. Any writing class. The nuts and bolts of production are OK, but every shop is different. Good writing translates well in any newsroom. Be sure to learn to write for different mediums, too. Newspaper, radio, TV, video production. And, don’t shy away from some basic to advanced English classes.

    And don’t forget AP Style. If there was a class at Wartburg JUST on AP Style, I would’ve taken it. Believe it or not, it helped me land a job after I left broadcasting.

  5. The most important thing about any college education, in my opinion, is learning to be a critical thinker. I think this is a skill that has helped me as a journalist more so than any one class.

    Comm. Law was great, and I agree it has helped keep me safe, although if you leave the state you learn it in, don’t forget to study up. A journalist’s education never ends.

    My first video production class helped me understand the history of film/tape and editing and I learned how everything works. This has helped me to do anything I want to do. While you can do a live report just by putting a microphone on, if something goes wrong (as it often does) it helps to know why and how a mic works in order to troubleshoot so you can get on the air.

    As odd as it sounds, I took an Honor’s Theatre Appreciation class that was taught by our Honor’s director that I think helped shape my entire view of the world. That class offered rich discussions and taught me that even the leaders aren’t always correct and it’s OK to disagree with others, what matters most is the conversation.

    While no one class can prepare you for a world in the media, they all can shape you in to a person that will succeed. I’ve heard all too often, “college didn’t prepare me for the real world.” I tell those people that they didn’t prepare themselves for the real world. You can’t learn how to produce sitting in a classroom, but you can learn how to communicate with others. You cannot really learn how to conduct an interview in a classroom, but there is a class that will teach you communication styles that will let you learn about people and you can use that to get the best responses.

    Internships are crucial to learning the media world. However, like college classes the internship is only what the intern is willing to put into the process. I was lucky and landed at a small-market station that was short a nightside reporter. Which meant I got to shoot, write, edit and report. I also took the initiative to help the ‘traditional’ journalists understand that website-thing they just got and was responsible for creating content online. Intern should find a void and fill it. In a world of cutbacks there are jobs to do and the only thing stopping you from getting the best work experience is you not asking how you can help. Be willing to make mistakes, you will. What matters most is learning from those who have been there before and not making the same mistakes twice.

    I will admit, I was a cocky college student, who assumed I would just land my dream job as soon as I walked across the stage and accepted my diploma and other honors. I was wrong. I had the best education possible and I still struggled. I am still struggling to find my perfect position. Am I closer than I was in market 146? Yes. The difference today is that I’ve learned I’m not always right and sometimes, it’s not what’s next that’s important. Most of the time, what’s most important is making the most of where you are right now.

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