Today was no different. During my doctor's appointment, the doctor asked what I was studying at school. To minimize the awkwardness of the situation, I quickly responded "Communication" to which he laughed. Not just any laugh. It was a deep belly laugh.
After he regained his composure, he apologized. He claimed that his son studied communication and he couldn't do anything with it. "Communication is the new English major," he said, claiming it was a degree relatively useless to have. I wanted to point out that English is still very much a major, but instead I told him my goals. They exist. I'm not just floating through an expensive school for the fun of it (even though it is fun). In fact, I've had some great experiences in college. I've reported from the London Olympic Games. I have an awesome internship. I'm excited for things to come.
Honestly, it's not any better when I throw in the Journalism tidbit. Watergate may have put the profession in the spotlight in the 70s, but the decline of its vehicle, the newspaper, has led people to falsely believe that journalism is in decline as well.
According to Merriam-Webster, journalism is defined as "the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media." While historically a large component of journalism, newspaper is not synonymous with journalism.
In fact, magazine readership is up largely due to niche marketing, online readership is becoming more and more popular and people are still turning on their televisions.
In May, when I graduate with my bachelor's degree in Communication, I will graduate with a cross-platform skill set much different from the journalists of the past. Because of our multimedia culture, journalists have to be jack of all trades. Recently, The Chicago Sun-Times fired its photographers to train its reporters in iPhone photography. It's not good enough to be a one-trick pony, and that's exciting.
You see, my degree doesn't come with a set job. It is what I make of it. But isn't that how life works?