No journalism degree? No problem!

— Sun News Network ad

The above Toronto Sun News Network help-wanted ad invites readers to “send us a must-read e-mail on why we should hire you over that stuffy, know-it-all from Columbia University with nine degrees in advanced journalism studies.”

That rubbed editor and journalism teacher Melanie Coulson the wrong way. “I felt the need to respond,” she writes in an email to Romenesko.

She tells the Sun:

It’s true that some of the greatest journalists have never been to j-school, but just as many have. The lessons students learn there go beyond ‘Journalism 101.’

Melanie Coulson

Yes, I learned how interview subjects (listen as well as ask questions); how to edit radio and television clips; and I worked on the school’s first blog that covered the Hill. I learned the tools of the trade.

But I also learned to think about news, and its important role in our society. I learned about balance, and how to be fair – tough, but fair – with the people I report about. I learned perspective.

The best reporters, editors and producers have strong news judgement and drive. These are probably things they are born with, I agree. At journalism schools, these innate talents are sharpened to make them among the very best at giving their audience the balanced stories they deserve. (And having a journalism degree doesn’t mean these talents disappear!)

* You’re conscripted! Join the Sun News team (sunnewsnetwork.com)
* My (open) cover letter for the Sun News Network job (journomel.com)

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