The Best Decision of My Career: Going to Journalism School

I do not think formal training is obligatory (at least in the United States), but I do think it is a very good idea. I will be the first to admit that going to journalism school is not for everyone interested in a career in journalism. That said, journalism school has great advantages. A student can sample all different types of journalism in a collegial atmosphere where great attention is paid to that student’s work. One-on-one editing is the best way to learn journalism.

The best decision I made in my educational career was to go to journalism school at Columbia University. I still have the edited copies of papers I submitted as a student many decades ago. I learned lessons that lasted me a career. Given my personal experience, it is no wonder that I am a big fan of journalism education.

Students will surely need to know how to use new technologies, but technologies come and go (for instance, I learned on a manual typewriter and a rotary phone). I am most interested in students being astute critical thinkers.


Thomas Goldstein received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1971 and the M.A. degree from the Graduate School of Journalism in 1969. His articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post, among others. He went on to serve five years as Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University. Read more about his accomplishments here and his thoughts on present-day journalism, here.