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Embattled News Industry May Offer Options for M.B.A.'s

But some media professionals say it’s unnecessary to go to business school.

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Dan German, the vice president of human resources at the Journal Register Company, which operates local news products in 10 states, says his company doesn't actively recruit M.B.A.'s for content roles. "There are opportunities in the industry for M.B.A. candidates who understand the industry and grasp the change that is taking place and can articulate the necessary steps to transform the newspaper industry to a more digitally focused place," he says. 

Time Inc. has always recruited M.B.A.'s, but the company has been finding that job applicants with M.B.A.'s are more qualified than those in the past, according to Bucky Keady, vice president of human resources. Time looks for applicants with specialties in tablet devices, smart phones, and multimedia, among other things, she says. 

When David Zeeck, publisher of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., earned his M.B.A. from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., in the mid '80s, tablets and smart phones didn't exist.

But Zeeck, who was managing editor of The Kansas City Star when he earned his M.B.A., says "fluency in both new media and business is essential to succeed as an editor these days." An M.B.A. isn't essential, but it can help journalists cultivate "a different way of looking at the world," he says.

"Any editor who hopes to succeed better be able to understand the business elements of the enterprise and technology and new media," he says.

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