Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center, presents findings from the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates.

Graduates of Journalism and Mass Communication Programs Found Job Market in 2004 More Favorable, Center Research Finds

The job market for journalism and mass communication graduates showed significant signs of improvement in 2004 and the first half of 2005. For the first time since 2000, the level of full-time employment increased over the year before. Salaries also grew.

These were the key findings of researchers in the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, who released results of the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates in August.

Dr. Lee B. Becker and Dr. Tudor Vlad summarized the findings of the annual survey at the meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The graduate survey and companion surveys on the journalism labor market are housed in the Cox Center, but funded by a group of sponsors, including AEJMC.

The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“The recovery is modest, but numerous indicators are positive,” the researchers reported. “If advertising expenditures continue to grow as predicted, the outlook for the next several years is quite positive.”

The four-day conference was held August 10 to 13 at the Marriott Hotel in San Antonio. Journalism educators and researchers from around the United States gathered to discuss issues in the field as well as findings of research in the broad field of mass communication.

Amy Jo Coffey, a doctoral student in the Grady College who worked as a graduate research assistant in the Cox Center, joined Drs. Becker and Vlad in presenting results of the graduate survey, as well as preliminary findings of a survey of enrollments and a study of graduates of doctoral programs in the broad field of communication.

The research team also summarized a study conducted in the Cox Center of the impact of endowments on journalism and mass communication education. That study was funded by a grant to the Cox Center from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and showed that administrators of journalism programs that receive external funding believe it has enhanced their standing inside and outside of the university and allowed them to initiate new programs for their students.

In a separate session at the San Antonio conference, Dr. Becker summarized other research in the Cox Center focusing on the role of media training in fostering economic and political development of the media around the world.

Approximately 50 scholars attended the special session on the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication.

Like the public at large, graduates of the nation’s journalism and mass communication programs are less likely to use all forms of the media than were graduates ten years ago, the Cox Center research team found. The graduates are more likely to have used the Internet for news “yesterday” than to have read a magazine or a book. They are big television entertainment viewers, and they listen to radio.

The researchers included comments from the national sample of journalism graduates in their report to give current students advice from those who went before them. Among the comments was this one from a female graduate of an advertising program.

“Consider taking classes either full or part time after you complete your degree to further your knowledge and fine tune your skills,” she wrote. “I did this to better my design skills, and it really advanced my skill level and confidence at my place of employment.”