The first rule of J School: You do not talk about J School

Channel your inner Tyler Durden (you know you have one–mine likes to pin DIY projects to my “Ideas” board on Pinterest, knowing full well I’ll never even buy the materials to start them). People like us are what you’d call “rebels.”

Far removed from my fantasy world of crafts, wedding ideas and too-good-to-be-true recipes, J School is my Fight Club (minus the mysterious bruises and missing teeth).



Courtesy of

In this week’s never ending pile of reading assignments, I came across this gem: “Online citizen journalists prove that formal newsroom training is an unnecessary attribute to produce online content.” Yikes McGooGoo.

Those of us training to be professional journalists in today’s age of crumbling news dynasties and citizen journalism  find ourselves caught in a dangerous relationship. We love and are loyal to our craft, but its affection toward us is fickle. Now, not only do those of us in J School have to lay in wait for the Muse to strike, we also stand facing a perfect storm of consolidation and downsizing brought on by that floozie, the Internet. Good luck finding a job.

That’s where the first rule comes in–You do not talk about J School. Graduate school is stressful enough. Thinking about the future in a highly-competitive job market is even worse. As my tenure as a student is nearing its end, and the challenge of finding a job becomes even more real, I’ve found myself adhering the the first rule more strongly than ever. I do not talk about J School.

I do not talk about what I want to be when I grow up. I do not talk about live-tweeting library board meetings, worshipping the inverted pyramid or writing for magazines. I decided in Mrs. Cain’s first grade class that I was destined for dolphin-training greatness. I’m still exploring that option. Sometimes it feels more attainable than finding a job in journalism.



Courtesy of

Perhaps I’ll pack up the Camry with snorkels and water wings, and Tuck and I will be on our way to Sea World, where I’ll learn a new set of rules. The first rule of Shamu: You do not talk about Shamu.




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Filed under Assessing Community Journalsim

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