Jisu Huh presenting results of the Annual Surveys.

Journalism Job Market is Weak, Report Released in Miami Shows

Researchers from the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research painted a gloomy picture of the job market for journalism and mass communication graduates at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Miami Beach in August.

The unemployment rate for graduates increased in 2001 over a year earlier, salaries received by graduates declined, as did benefits. More graduates took a job because it was the only one available to them, and fewer of those jobs were in communication–the field for which they had studied.

These were some of the key findings from the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates, housed in the Cox Center, a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The graduate survey, and the companion Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Enrollments, are directed by Dr. Lee B. Becker, who also is director of the Cox Center.

Dr. Becker and others from the Cox Center presented the findings from both surveys at a special session at the Miami Beach conference. Also participating in the session were Dr. Tudor Vlad, assistant director of the Cox Center, doctoral students Jisu Huh and George Daniels, who serve as research assistants in the Cox Center, and Dr. Hugh Martin, a faculty member in the Grady College.

In a separate session at the Miami meeting of journalism educators, Drs. Becker, Vlad and Martin also presented the results of research they conducted in the Cox Center on the hiring patterns of daily newspapers in the period of 1985 through 2000.

That research confirms a major assumption of the field, namely that large daily newspaper hire few students directly from college, preferring to hire instead experienced journalists. But there are important exceptions to this pattern, the researchers found, with large daily newspapers more likely to hire directly from college if they are not part of newspaper groups with their own feeder system.

The implications of these findings were discussed by the three researchers in a session of the Media Management and Economics Division of the journalism association. The paper was called: "Change and Stability in the Newspaper Industry's Journalistic Labor Market."

In a separate session of the Media Management and Economics Division, Dr. Becker discussed the international training work of the Cox Center. The session, titled "Teaching Across Cultures and Borders," focused on the challenges of working in teaching environments where the participants do not necessarily share the same values and assumptions.

Dr. Becker said the Cox Center approaches its workshops abroad as exchanges, preferring that word to the more common term of "training." Dr. Becker said he has come to understand that the foreign journalists he deals with have a tremendous amount of expertise. "Our goal is to create a situation where we all share our expertise," he said.

In another session, organized by the Media Management and Economics Division and the Communication Technology and Policy Division, Cox Center Assistant Director Vlad discussed research in the Cox Center on the economic consequences of copyright. That research will appear in a forthcoming book, to be published by Hampton Press, on copyright. The book was edited by Drs. Becker and Vlad.

Through the invitation of the Cox Center, Prof. Tegest Heruy, head of the School of Journalism and Communication at Unity College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, attended the meeting of journalism educators in Miami Beach. The Cox Center is working with Unity College to develop its journalism program.

Prof. Heruy attended sessions at the Miami conference in an effort to learn more about journalism education in the United States and to meet with journalism educators from around the country.

The research from the special session on the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication is summarized in five special reports, available on the web site for the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication. A sixth report, dealing with enrollments, was released only in preliminary form at the August meeting but will be available on the site in the autumn.

The reports dealt with the job market of journalism and mass communication graduates, the attitudes of journalism and mass communication graduates towards workplace issues, enrollments, the role of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities in journalism education, and enrollment in communication doctoral programs around the country.