When a job ad asks for a major in journalism or English, it’s falling prey to the credential con: substituting credentials for abilities. The guy quoted below, who I found on the blog of Glenn Reynolds (law professor and natural writer), goes too far. But I’ve hired enough journalists, been to enough journalism classes and participated in enough journalism LinkedIn groups to admit that he has at least a bit of a point.
[Journalists] are not the best and the brightest. They are, overwhelmingly, college students who couldn’t handle college math, wouldn’t do the work to pass Biology 101 and Chemistry 101, and were put off by long books with lots of facts in them, so history was not an option either.
So what was left? (fill in the blank)_____ Studies or Journalism.
Writing with confidence is not enough. Credibility requires strong knowledge of your field and the discipline to read widely both inside and outside of it. That’s what I look for in others. That’s what I strive for myself.