While it’s not always true for everyone, I would say, for the vast majority of students, constant practice is the best path to mastering photography. Go for it in photo-journalism and see where it takes you and if you want to go there. PJ work is 24 hours and you’ll have the opportunity to shoot ALL
the time——Wedding happen on the weekends and it’s not likely a wedding will break out downtown at 10 pm on Wednesday night—-but news breaks all the time and everywhere
-it’s highly unlikely you could travel to Tajakistan and get a commercial shoot for a locally made yogurt campaign, but you could shoot an S-load of news there.
The speed required to successfully complete a PJ assignment will come in handy with any type of photography——maybe even more importantly, your eye for what is a photograph and what is not will come to you much faster in PJ work than anything else—-that is as long as you are shooting all the time——I think Fulton touches on it when he talks about ideas——experience and repetition will help to isolate what has been done and what needs to be done—-if you shoot a lot and you see what works and what does not, you will develop a direction and a better eye.
It’s not that other forms of photography—-fine art, commercial & advertising ie; portrait, product, catalog, etc—-do not have critics because they have their clients that hire them back or not, but it’s really in the form of not calling you on the phone and you never hear from them again or it’s the voice of an un-trained eye that says the shot was nor purple enough——-PJ work has an photo editor, layout editor, copy editor, news editor et al, that will give you constant feed back because their job depends on your photo as much as yours does——
I don’t think enough has been said about finding your niche in photography—-Choose a location for your student work that will have the greatest potential for what you are interested in and what you want to photograph——-New York City will not have a big angle on wheat farming but if rural life and times are your thing, then choose wisely——rural could mean anywhere in the world just as much as you could pull niche expertise for urban life from NYC, Paris, Mexico City or Buenos Aires——get a common denominator of several niche areas that interest you and hook up with the school closest to the source—-
I believe the key to living a successful working life in photography is finding that niche where any media outlet that needs images for that special story, they will consider you work in their top three—-most often out of that relationship comes assignment work that is related to that niche—-but not always——a photo editor could easily see how your persistence in getting that Chinese silk beetle shot in the rain and apply to asking you to shoot a difficult parliament vote two countries over a month later——in fact, having said that, it’s persistence and answering your phone as soon as you can that you get anywhere——
Good Luck, bro