Photographers wishing to work in the news industry do not need to have formal education, but it helps. College training in photojournalism allows an individual to get firsthand experience working for student publications, and allows the individual to learn firsthand at the feet of experienced photographers. The work you do in college can be used to sell yourself to newspapers and magazines while you are attending university and after you graduate. You can also network in school, because the person you worked with on the school paper might be the next editor at your local paper.
It is also possible to attend university to learn about things other than photojournalism. As I mentioned earlier, the job of the press photographer is to learn and discover the world, capturing it on photographs. Majors in history, sociology, political science, international relations and more are wonderful subjects for a photojournalist to study to prepare for the specialized field of press photography.
Of course, college is not the only way to break into the business. You can be self-taught, grabbing a camera when you are young and working until you are a master of your art. However, it is harder to break into the business without any contacts or published work. You can bring your photographs to a newspaper and sell yourself to them, but you must also prove you are a hard worker and can meet deadlines. Without college, you more than likely would have to get your start as a photographer at the bottom of the press pool, and work your way up.