llspier, I agree with most of what you say, but do take serious exception to this statement:
... A degree means little in this field other than they were afforded the very expensive benefit of higher education. With that higher education usually comes a set of political and social beliefs and a world-view that serves to limit differing perspectives. ...
In fact, a quality higher education regimen does broaden perspectives by exposing students to a wide range of ideas, philosophies and factual material, which they are expected and even required to examine critically. Because this results in world views that differ from yours -- or those held by vocal members of the general public or political class -- does not at all mean that perspectives are narrowed. What it really may mean is that educated people are able to dissect and analyze matters, and come to their own conclusions rather than those directed by others.
That said, I also believe far too few modern day journalists come to the news business having good range of more common "life" experiences. The push these days is to get media experience through summer jobs, internships, etc.. In one respect that is a good thing, because it helps develop pertinent skills through real life application. But in another, it means that aspiring media people do not gain the experience of flipping burgers, working as chambermaids, laboring on construction projects, doing warehousing or office work, and the like, which allows them opportunity to develop empathy with ordinary working people. This unfortunately translates to a lot of journalism that fails to report what ordinary folks affected by the day's events and stories really want or need to know about them. It is more a social and business phenomenon than it is an educational one.