Whoever said that Journalism was the easiest subject on campus has obviously never had the pleasure of attempting the course, or for that matter, one of the many assignments that are due on a regular basis. Rhodes is renowned for its
Journalism department and every year produces top class graduates who go out into the world with a degree they have worked hard for; one that will be recognized all over South Africa and possibly the world. These graduates have gone through a vigorous four years of grueling tests and assignments that demand one hundred percent of dedication to their work, this also means cutting back on a healthy amount of sleep to meet those ever so charming deadlines. You wouldn’t be far off in thinking that Journalism and Media Studies is a type of mini boot camp that produces some of the next greatest writers in South Africa, disciplined in their art and committed to exceeding every expectation. (Ninja style).

Being a first year Journalist I can confidently say that Journalism will test you mentally, physically and emotionally but at the end of the day will leave you with a new sense of accomplishment. The tasks set for us budding young journalists are no shy feat, it’s not everyday that you walk into a lecture and are taught how to interview someone, it may sound simple but to be a professional journalist there is not a single detail that is left unturned. Journalism is not simply about reading out of a textbook and memorizing a list of facts, it’s about applying your own experiences in a practical and theoretical way. No one seems to understand that we can never go into an exam feeling confident if we have not succeeded in the practical side of the year, doing interviews, joining one of the student newspapers or creating your own blog. These are all important factors in preparing us for a variety of questions that we will have to answer personally and not regurgitate from a text book. (a la BCom).

If you ever speak to one of the lucky few students who do make it into the next years of Journalism you will find that they know the department inside out and back to front. The amount of work keeps them holed up in the Journalism department for hours and more likely even days on end, only coming out for a breath of fresh air and a drink at the Rat. The JMS building becomes their second bedroom and there is a constant stream of people in and out of the building at odd hours, one of the many joys of the incessant work load that demands you give up a night with friends for a television assignment due next week. It surprises me when people say that they would like to take Journalism as an arbitrary subject because they always see the students doing “fun and creative” assignments. Admittedly there are some really exciting assignments but its all fun and games to those on the outside because they don’t understand the pressure of these assignments; nothing can be taken light heartedly in Journalism, not with the looming application to get into the next year. Everything counts, its not just enough to pass and hand in essays for DP requirements, if it’s not brilliant then you don’t stand out from the crowd.

Being a journalist is not easy, it’s a tough industry with no mercy and standards that exceed our expectations, and so with this in mind we have to understand how they are “created”. Rhodes offers a tough course that is not advisable for the weak minded or hearted, but in the end releases some fine examples of future journalists into the world. From this we can clearly see that Journalism is definitely not the easiest subject on campus, and borders more on a boot camp style of teaching and learning.



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