This week at Trinity, 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring   in Uncategorized

December 9, 1910

“College Trained Journalists”  (From the Charleston News and Courier).

One or two newspapers have aroused some discussion by asserting that the college-trained men whom they have tried on their staffs have never been even moderately successful, from which it is argued that schools of journalism are worse than useless.  There was a time when medical schools were laughed at.  It was assumed that young men could only be properly trained in doctor’s offices, whereas, as a matter of fact, these were the very places where they received the poorest kind of training.  So also in the legal profession law schools were ridiculed.  Medical and law schools are modern things, and it has not been many years since they were objects of suspicion.  In fact, only when their early students became the older members of the profession did this suspicion die out.

It is manifestly absurd to assume that a man will be ruined for journalism if he is taught journalism as a profession, and it is just as ridiculous to assert that the student will not be greatly benefited by such training, assuming of course that the school which he attends is a food one.  In journalism as in anything else some aptitude for the work is required.  Some men cannot write and never will know how to write.  Others have no power of observation or are woefully deficient in the ability to condense or to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

One great trouble with journalism today is that there are not enough college -bred men in it.  If the press is to influence or make public opinion, evidently the press should itself be controlled by men who have been taught how to think clearly and well, who know the English language, who are acquainted with history and the arts, and who are thoroughly educated in a general way.  Yet the greatest journalists will still be born, not made, no matter how many schools of journalism there are.  The great mass of workers can be trained for their work, but even training cannot make great journalists.  They, like great men in every profession, are born, taking due pains after birth of course to make themselves ready for their life-work.

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