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"Rubbish — this is usury"

Media types react to the proposed $10,250 fee hike at Berkeley's J-school.


  1. The only ethical reason for a tuition surcharge is for degree programs that require a great deal of expensive technology or other major expenses, such as nursing, engineering, etc. Those also teach professions that pay a lot more than journalism, one of the lowest-paid professions that requires a degree. Now more than ever, a journalist needs specialized skills that s/he will not learn in an English program. It's not just writing anymore; when I was in J-school, the internet barely existed. Now graduates will need to know all about pagination, managing large databases and data analysis, the increasingly complex laws surrounding FOIA and open meetings, social media and balancing online with print, taking and editing photos and video in the field, etc. Berkeley is doing its journalism students a huge disservice: forcing them to choose between a degree that will leave them unemployable in their chosen field, and doubling student debt that, given the current level of reporter salaries, they will never pay off. And for what? What enormous expense does the J-school have that requires this massive increase?
  2. I say go for it, but only if those who are enrolling do not have a J-school undergrad degree.
  3. Journalism is a trade. You learn it by doing it. Undergrad is English, no masters, 15 years doing the work. (And I teach it.)
  4. Rubbish -- this is usury. At U Michigan, there's no journalism program, yet students learn on the job at the Michigan Daily. They often major in humanities. These days you can make your own website and practice there. I say this as someone with a journalism masters. It can be good training but don't overpay for it.Supplemental fees belong in science programs -- where equipment can cost millions of dollars.
  5. I do have a graduate degree in journalism, but mine cost about $5,000 in the early 1980s. There is no way that $15,000 is worth it for a career in which the entry level jobs pay $25,000 or less.
  6. There should be zero degrees required for journalism. Portfolios and clips should be the determining factor on who gets hired. Internships are the key to your growth as a journalist. Why pay to learn from an academic when you can get paid to learn from pros?The only reason for having a masters is if you are a college professor.
  7. Bad idea at a time when demand for people with journalism training is on the wane.
  8. I value my Berkeley J-School education tremendously and wouldn't take it back, but as someone still paying off the $30,000 in loans I took out to go there (only $13,000 left!), I'm pretty sure I would have taken it off my list for that price. But maybe I'm the problem as I haven't been able to donate in a very long time because I left my newspaper job to start a family and now teach part-time and freelance the rest of my income. Pretty sure I haven't made $10,000 freelancing this year.