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| p.1 #7 · Best Photo-journalism School? |
There's no such thing as "the best." And there are no rules about breaking into the industry. There aren't many openings. Luck plays a part. Being able to shoot-- and nail the job-- and being able to wriggle oneself into the field are required skills.
You can be a rogue freelancer, taking risky assignments. Or you can work your way up at local, regional, and international publications.
You can get a fine art degree in studio and documentary work, take that knowledge, and then work your ass off. OR you can get a journalism degree (photo or otherwise), work your ass off. Or you can just luck into the job.
Figure out what YOU think is your best avenue. What skills/things you need: connections, the ability to shoot documentary work, knowledge about the business. And then work yourself down to the bone acquiring these things at reasonable costs (subjective, personal measure), and then using them to your advantage.
I got a master's degree in journalism (non-photo) from what is usually ranked the top J school in the country. It was a fantastic program re honing my craft. I was challenged by intellectuals in multiple fields. The connections were... eh... on the nothing-to-moderate scale. I'm pretty successful, both writing and shooting for top publications. But most of my breaks were a combination of grit, persistence, luck, and being able to deliver given even the tiniest break from an editor. Having a degree from a named school has allowed me to teach undergrad classes once or twice a year, and opens another set of doors should I decide to slow down my freelancing at some point and do more teaching as I get older-- taking on fewer, but more personally interesting, assignments.
My advice is always this: Collect as many different tales of people who have succeeded in the field you want to succeed in. Learn how they did it. Then using what you find out, chart a potential route (that can be changed and updated as you go) that you think may work for you.