Is a journalism degree nowadays essential for the journalists?
How and what kind of capital is determined by the field and its individuals, “established players and newcomers who fight for the power to define what can be acknowledged as a legitimate practice, aesthetic, taste or norm.” Each of those capitals can be exchanged for another, e.g., paying tuition fees to achieve a degree resembles an exchange of economic capital for cultural capital, while cultural capital can be exchanged for a profession or a job in society. Depending on the type of education, as Bourdieu observes, individuals from different educational backgrounds are grouped accordingly, leading to social and class distinctions. This form of grouping is evident through fashion journalists and editors, who can be seen as one group; hence, possessing a journalism degree is not necessarily essential to enter the field.
A UK print publication like The Sunday Times Style is regularly invited to cover fashion shows, to report on brands and collections and expose “new products and new ways of dressing” to the fashion consumer. Therefore fashion publications, specifically editors and journalists, act as intermediaries between fashion producers and the consumer to “construct style and fashion as insider knowledge” which generates profit for fashion brands and at the same time symbolic meaning for the fashion industry.
Given the status and prestige of such a print publication, it can provide an in-house fashion journalist with a significant amount of cultural capital; this means access to exclusive shows due to status and prestige – symbolic and economic capital – seats in the front row next to the elite – social capital – and connections to other key agents in the industry. However, this is dependent on publication, country of residency and the prior accrued symbolic capital of the fashion journalist. In other words, only fashion journalists who align with the above and possess high amounts of cultural capital are likely to be invited to fashion shows to represent the publication.