Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee received the 2007 Columbia Journalism Award last week, and told the graduating students:
“The most important thing for a journalist to have, in my view, is life experience. Your [journalism] degree will do you some good, of course—why else would you have come. But what will do you more good is just getting out there and living.
“Schools can teach you how to edit, how to put stories together, and all of that, but they can’t teach you how to think for yourself, how to care about other people, how to make sense of the world around you in your own unique way. Only life experience can do that for you.
“And so wherever you find yourselves next, I hope you will just keep an open mind—to your experience, to the people around you, to everything. You never know where the path will open or where it’s going to lead, but if you know yourself well enough, you’ll know which one is worth following.”
Read the full transcript of his speech here