What’s Your Major? The Value of Journalism in This World
Information is invaluable, journalists are the gateway to the public
By Brian Ashburn, Minnesota State University
For the first 12 years of my life, I was convinced that I was going attend UCLA, play soccer and become a lawyer with skills to rival Matlock.
I used to come home from elementary school and tell my mom the most insane stories about how I saved the school from burning down after a band of crazy monkeys tried to light it on fire during recess.
I never grew out of dreaming, but I definitely grew into who I was meant to be.
Once I reached the age where my future was in reach, I tried to find the perfect major for me. I loved telling stories, communicating, entertaining others and being creative with everything I did. Homework never really was my thing; instead, I enjoyed every series on television imaginable as well as any movie I could get my hands on. Naturally, I turned to mass communications and film production.
I dabbled in public relations and advertising, but nothing quite enticed me more than journalism. It’s human nature to want to be the one telling someone the crazy thing that just happened. After the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, I saw information disseminated in a way that I’ve never seen before. Every person I encountered asked questions, referred to Twitter or quoted CNN. It’s amazing how valuable journalism was this week, which made me even more excited about my future.
Journalism holds a unique duty to society; a promise to keep them informed on what is going on around the world. People rely on reporters and writers to tell us about our safety, how to handle a storm, or just a cute story about a bicycle-riding chimpanzee.
As a journalism major, I have honed my communication skills like no other. Instead of expanding my vocabulary, I learned how to be succinct and conversational. I have learned how to craft simple but impactful sentences and how to engage viewers with a short headline. Information is invaluable and journalists are the gateway to the public.
To check out the broadcast journalism program at my university, click here.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, no matter what’s happening in this world, people can rely on TV and movies to brighten their days. For centuries, humanity has used performance as a creative outlet and a portal into another world. Whether it’s hanging in Central Perk with Phoebe and Rachel or fighting dragons with Harry Potter, film and television are a way to leave the stresses of life and submerge into hilarity and heartbreak.
The film production program at my university is expansive, insofar as it enables students to learn every aspect of production. Some film schools require students to choose a specific aspect of the production process and master that craft; at MSUM, we learn about sound, lighting, cinematography, special effects, directing, scriptwriting and editing and have the opportunity to explore which ones spark our passions. Every semester involves making student films, which fuels the creative flow. We even have the opportunity to work with old school 16mm film cameras. Although they seem like a dying art form, it offers a new appreciation for the craft of filmmaking.
By combining the two departments, I have learned how to communicate like never before. I can write an anchor’s script for a breaking news story or a script detailing an epic battle scene on an alien spaceship. The skills I’ve gained provide me practical experience and a toolkit to prepare me for internships and real world jobs.