Two Degrees for Separation

UOW Journalism Students look to double degrees as jobs in the profession dry up

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Image depicting the wide variety of double degrees available to UOW Journalism students

The field of journalism is changing. As big news outlets gradually move from print to the online sphere, hundreds of jobs in the field of journalism are being made redundant. With this issue at the forefront of current student’s minds, it is no surprise that many Journalism students at UOW are opting to study double degrees in an effort to better their prospects of employment in the future.

Senior UOW Journalism lecturer Marcus O’Donnell spoke of the advantage a double degree in journalism can be for students looking to succeed in the field of journalism. He stated that, “it’s a good strategy as journalism is two distinct things; not only does it involve skills and practices like writing and photography, journalism always focuses on one specific area of knowledge. For example, if someone wants to become a business journalist then a double degree in commerce and journalism would be a valuable head start”. O’Donnell further commented “employers are always looking for people with broad areas of experience and knowledge that is not just specific to journalism. People who have gone into depth in other areas of study can be invaluable for research and other areas in the field of journalism”.

This idea of thinking has been taken on board by many UOW journalism students who have opted to undertake double degrees in an effort to secure a job after University. Kelly Stratton, who is currently in the second year of her combined Law/Journalism degree stated that, “I think the secondary law degree will give me an invaluable set of skills that will provide a ‘leg up’ on the competition in either profession.” This ‘competitive edge’ has been identified by a number of Journalism students studying double degrees, including Blair Arnold, who is currently in his first year of a Journalism/Media and Communications degree. Arnold stated, “The double degree will definitely allow me to be more competitive within the field when it comes to applying for jobs in the future”.

Additionally, Stratton has found that her secondary degree has enhanced her academic ability, stating, “After a year of law, I can see that the quality of my writing has improved immensely… I also know how to look at something and interpret and analyse it in an effective way before writing, which is an essential skill as a journalist”.

Whilst a lack of jobs has led many students to opt for a double degree, a number have found that this issue has deterred them from wanting to work in the field of journalism. First year Communications and Media Studies/Creative Arts student Caitlin James remarked, “I am realising that after my first semester, the lack of jobs in journalism is quite worrying.. I have definitely dedicated more time to my secondary degree as a result”.

Contrary to this, many journalism students have found that the lack of jobs has, if anything made them more motivated to succeed in their degree and obtain a job in the future. Media Studies/Bachelor of Arts student Amy Scurr stated that “(doing a double degree) has helped me cement the idea that I want to be a journalist… Journalism was always my first choice for a degree, so no matter how few jobs there are out there, I’m determined to find one of them”.

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