How to combine academic and creative work in the same field?
June 8, 2011 12:44 AM Subscribe
A case-study in journalism: after entering academia (j-school staff), will a feature writer say goodbye to creativity?
posted by earthwormsleg to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The story so far: I'm 27. Have freelanced with a (good) investigative weekly for some years. Considered myself quite a capable feature writer (hey, it's something I've wanted to do since 4th grade). Nominated for an kind-of-prestigious prize for that. At the same time, I don't despise academia either – that is, even though I from time to time regret having gone to j-school, I've always had a quirky interest in the theory of journalistic genres. And maybe even a, err, "vision" of how these should be "taught".
Hence, having the soul of an experimenter (yay), I've no plans to leave "real" journalism. But I'm quite seriously considering a parallel life in the academia. Studying and maybe teaching journalism.
Considering the latter, naturally I do see drawbacks – persumably quite adumbrative for anyone who's ever been involved in journalism. Sure, in a way, anything directly related to j-schools is floating at the top level of pointless occupations. But more than that I'm facing the fear that to place too much focus on "theorising" is literally to flush away all abilities to write creative stuff with ease – or, leastways, entering academia as early as age 27 will do that.
(For many of the best-respected pundits in the field of liberal arts seem to have "evolved" into an academic – rather than crucially "becoming" one. Which is what my current hypothetical path seems to be leading to.)
Then again: going for academia would – maybe – prop up my career as a freelancing journo. Enabling me to stay on longer pieces (which is kind of a luxury in the Baltic states where I'm from) and possibly try out producing radio documentaries as well (which is even more of a luxury).
And, okay, the only editorial staff I'd really like to join is somewhat hard up at the moment. So in a way I've simply my back against the wall.
Hence, some questions:
1. Has any of you managed to successfully combine academic and creative work (say, writing of any kind)? That is, without getting the feeling that academia is yet in a way "swallowing" your creativity?
2. If so, is there anything at all you – as "creative individuals" – have actually gained from doing academic research aside?
3. In case you did try but sort-of failed in combining the two sides, what were the reasons?
4. Or am I simply unable to think out of the (/my) box?
PS: Please excuse the poor grammar. Yes, it is really embarrassing – then again, offering a topic for my second MeFi post. Err.