What’s more important – a journalism degree or experience?

The journalism industry is one that is in a state of flux. For those who aspire to enter it, several questions are faced. What route should I take? Should I study journalism at uni or should I just focus on gaining experience? How will this route help me enter the industry?

It is a debate that continues to be ongoing, but one many think that is worthwhile. As the question is debated, Kettle reached out to several people to see what they thought on the subject.

Reached through email, Sian Elvin, a final year student in English Literature at the University of Warwick and Deputy Editor of their student paper, The Boar, says while it is necessary to have experience and some knowledge, a degree is not necessarily required.

“Experience is most important of course but you still need shorthand and a knowledge of media law (so you don’t get sued!),” Elvin said. “You don’t need a degree in journalism necessarily but some kind of qualification to teach you essential skills is necessary.”

Elvin added though that degrees in journalism, whether pursued at the undergraduate or postgraduate route, are still relevant, and that academia can help you learn to write well.

An ongoing debate

On Twitter, Jessica Mal said she has a degree in media and journalism, but struggled to find experience in the industry.











Nadene Chandler, a first year journalism student at the University of Sheffield, said the degree was crucial.



Kettle writer Reece Cowlishaw, who is currently studying a Journalism MA at the University of Lincoln, says both are important.



Journalists currently working in the industry, including Jane Prendergrast of BBC Local Radio and Jess Bell of the Suffolk Free Press newspaper, added that both were essential. Emily Bull of KLFM in West Norfolk and Star Radio in Cambridge said both had their benefits.







However, Tom Baty of the University of Central Lancashire said experience was more important, a sentiment agreed with by Lauren Rice.






Yet, Kenny Farquharson, Deputy Editor of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, says there is no rule when it comes to whether a journalism degree or experience can trump one another.







This is a debate that is likely going to continue so long as there is interest in journalism and as the industry changes, and for the moment, it is a debate certainly worth having.

What do you think? Is a degree in journalism more important than experience? Or vice versa? Or both? Have your say in the comments section below.