Q. I am currently set to go to Quinnipiac University to participate in its masters of interactive communications program, but I am also on the waiting list for Columbia University’s broadcast program and I will more than likely be accepted to the University of Washington’s masters of digital media program.
My question is, which one should I attend if all three become viable options? I really wanted to be a broadcaster and was initially accepted to Quinnipiac for that program. Once I saw all the cuts happening in journalism, though, I switched to something I felt would enable me to work in journalism or out of journalism.
My background is in computer graphics so I definitely know that interactive communications will be a nice complement, but I am worried about which track will lead to the best viable job market. The program at the University of Washington is structured more like an MBA with a focus on digital media, and I am unsure whether a program that theoretical will be beneficial in this current job market.
If I choose to go to Quinnipiac, I also have the option of not moving from Vegas but rather taking the program online. It will take a year longer to finish but I won’t have to be stranded in Connecticut if I can’t find a job after graduation.
A. It seems you have a “trilemma.”
You seem to be focused on career paths, rather than universities, so let’s think about those career paths.
You say that one program seems to be too theoretical for your purposes and that it leads to digital media management rather than the practitioner’s role you seem to be seeking.
That leaves you looking at interactive communications or broadcasting. You have observed, accurately, that journalism positions are being cut. The Pew Center’s latest report on the state of the news media says, “In local television, news staffs, already too small to adequately cover their communities, are being cut at unprecedented rates; revenues fell by 7 percent in an election year — something unheard of — and ratings are now falling or flat across the schedule.”
I think this is not merely a consequence of the late 2008 stock market meltdown, but a reflection of the technological changes that are disrupting all legacy media. So, I think it is unwise to bank on a return to the way things were.
Your first offer may be the best one for what you say you want to do.
I would not spend a minute worrying about getting stranded wherever you go to school. I would expect to move for that new job.
Coming Thursday: This newlywed is being run ragged by her daytime reporting job. She wonders: Would the vacancy on the night desk bring her relief, or trap her?