Every week Newsweek magazine has a survey charting the top ten of something. Usually it’s boring things like which US city has the most bikers or the fattest people. But the May 9th issue’s survey caught my eye.
It purports to illuminate “The Most Useless College Degrees”, based on careers have the worst salary levels and lowest number of jobs. On the list are (who knew?) chemistry and mechanical-engineering technology. Funny, I always pictured the kids who were good at science growing up to wear goggles in some absolutely essential lab somewhere, propelling America into the future from the moment recruiters snapped them up for $70,000 a year to start.
A music major is on there, to nobody’s great surprise, but I am shocked that my own major, a bachelor of arts in theater, is not listed.
But the really unsettling thing is the magazine’s number one most useless degree: Journalism.
I am a journalist who doesn’t even have a journalism degree. What does that mean for me? What does it mean that a venerable magazine, doing its best to keep afloat through a controversial merger with a news website, goes out of its way to flagrantly name journalists as the most educationally, financially and professionally screwed college graduates?
Even more painful is the degree deemed slightly better than journalism: horticulture.
Of course I expect this poll to put the whole controversy about journalism in the digital world to rest.