Gatekeeping Survives the Modern Age

A Master of Science in Communication Studies has finally become the heir apparent to an idea I’ve had for many years. Getting a graduate degree was always something I thought worthwhile, but the field of study was not so obvious. I did not want to put forth the time, effort and money without a clear idea of why to choose a particular subject, and then how to put it to good use. My first career as a weekly newspaper reporter was wonderful.
Fresh out of college, but with a speech communication major (because that sounded like fun and could get me out of school in four years) I learned the newspaper business from a gentle man in a small town. Because writing is my first love, I was able to easily put information into a readable format. The rest of the responsibilities – interviewing, researching, proofreading, editing, layout, paste-up, photography, developing film and printing pictures, I picked up on the job. I was young and single, then young and married, and life was good. It got better with children, so I put the newspaper business aside.
As a few friends earned their Master’s Degrees, I was envious but not compelled. English and writing were options, but didn’t appear sensible unless I taught high school or contacted New York for literary work (no small feat in those pre-technology days). I was not interested in either. Life with kids was busy and they were the priority for my time. Two decades later I resumed where I had left off. I was ready to work for pay again and fell into the perfect job as a weekly newspaper reporter. It has been a growing experience as I brushed up on and fine-tuned my skills.

I dove into controversial issues as well as the mundane, and for the last four years have recorded the news of a very active community. From this has grown the idea that a master’s is the next logical step. I love to learn, as I have from every story written for the newspaper. I am interested in studying the media from ‘the big picture’ and associating with fellow mass communication enthusiasts. There are particular aspects of the degree I will pursue because it may be the only way to learn computerized techniques useful in the field.
Most of my kids are no longer home to teach me that. For my final years of employment I would like to work with a company or non-profit organization, or teach at a junior college. I plan to stay with my perfect job until my last child is out of high school. Then I may be ready for a job with set hours. I’m quite sure that one year at a respectable salary will reimburse the cost of the master’s tuition, compared to a reporter’s wage. At any rate, I am always up for an adventure, and have been excited since deciding to further my education. Pat Fridgen

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