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Primary Education News
News I dropped media studies at A-level and have no regrets | Sarah Phillips
There are better routes to a career in journalism than media studies, which may account for its decline in popularity
This year's A-level results have seen a 9.3% decline in students taking media studies, compared with increases in more conventional subjects, such as the sciences, maths and economics. Perhaps this is because journalism no longer seems a viable career path, what with the industry in a particularly precarious state; phone hacking hasn't been the best advert for our line of work either. Or maybe it's just never been a particularly useful subject to take and the class of 2013, has seen the light and gone for more practical choices instead.
At Peter Symonds College in Winchester in the early noughties, it was a popular course. I opted for it as an AS alongside English Literature, English Language and French, thinking it would be a good way to kickstart the career I had dreamed of since watching Press Gang.
Truth be told, I can't recall too much from that year I spent studying it, other than comparing different media forms, considering media representation and writing the odd headline or two. Our teacher was a former local newspaper reporter, fed up of doorstepping and school fetes, and lessons were often filled with tales of his short-lived media career. The highlight of the course by far was directing the opening sequence of a feminist thriller film, which although very enjoyable didn't lead me to believe that I could be the next Jane Campion.
It is probably fair to say that media studies is a bit too wide a remit to do any particular element of it justice. Postgraduate journalism qualifications have always been more highly regarded in the business, for their teaching of the vocational skills that you will actually need on the job. In 2011, a guide issued by the Russell Group advised students against taking too many "soft" options, including media studies, and its credibility has clearly not recovered since that knock.
I dropped it after AS and have no regrets – studying English at sixth form and beyond set me up well to become a journalist. The most useful thing I learned? Without a doubt how to name drop. Future fashion icon Alexa Chung starred in my thriller, and lads' mag model-to-be, Lucy Pinder, was also in my class. Perhaps each of us did learn something about the media, after all.