Donna Wilcox, Megan Vogel, and Melanie M. Zuñiga listen to Dr. Vlad's presentation.

Job Market for Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates Largely Unchanged from Year Earlier, Researchers Report

The job market for graduates of U.S. journalism and mass communication university programs remained largely unchanged in the second half of 2007 and the first half of 2008 from a year earlier, according to a report released August 7 by researchers in the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia.

Nearly the same percentage of graduates in 2007 found full-time jobs within six to eight months of graduation as in the previous year, and salaries remained static, the University of Georgia researchers reported.

Dr. Lee B. Becker and Dr. Tudor Vlad, who direct the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates, released the results August 7 at a session on the study’s findings at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Chicago.

“Given the turmoil in the traditional media industries and the large number of layoffs, particularly in the daily newspaper segment,” the researchers said in the report, “the consistency in the experiences of the 2007 graduates probably can be treated as good news.”

Dr. Becker is director of the Cox Center, and Dr. Vlad is associate director. The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication, of which the graduate survey is a part, are used extensively in the Center’s international programming.

The Cox Center also held a preconvention session on August 5 in Chicago that focused on the usefulness of the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates for evaluation of journalism and mass communication education.

The session, funded by the McCormick Foundation of Chicago, included a roundtable discussion during which 30 leading journalism educators and representatives of the employers of journalism and mass communication graduates discussed the methodology of the graduate survey.

In the session on August 7, Drs. Becker and Vlad reported that nearly all of the 2007 bachelor’s degree recipients who looked for work had at least one in-person job interview in the six to eight months after graduation, the survey found.

On October 31, 2007, 63.3 percent of the bachelor’s degree recipients had a full-time job, a figure nearly identical to what the 2006 graduates reported.

The Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates is designed to monitor the employment rates and salaries of graduates of journalism and mass communication programs in the United States, including Puerto Rico. Since 1997, the survey has been conducted at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

In 2007, 2,271 spring graduates from a probability sample of 83 universities around the country participated in the survey.

The study found that, as in past years, women had more success in the job market in 2007 than did men, and minority graduates were less likely to land a job generally and to find a job in the
field of communication than were non-minority graduates.

The median salary earned by 2007 bachelor’s degree recipients was exactly the same as the
median salary earned by bachelor’s degree recipients in 2006, while the median salary for
master’s degree recipients in 2007 was $2,000 higher than a year earlier.

For eight of nine listed benefits in the survey, slightly larger percentages of graduates reported receiving the benefit in 2007 than did in 2006.

Job satisfaction increased significantly in 2007 for those with full-time work, with 42.1 percent of those so employed saying they were “very satisfied” with their job. The figure has not been higher since 1987.

The researchers also released a preliminary report on the findings of the Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Enrollments and a report on doctoral degrees granted by communication programs around the U.S. The final report on the enrollment report will be released later this year.

Cox Cener graduate research assistants Megan Vogel and Donna Wilcox attended the sessions at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile and presented the findings of the study of doctoral programs.

Melanie Zuñiga, administrative specialist in the Cox Center who organized the preconvention program, also attended the conference, which ran from August 6 to 9 and was attended by journalism educators primarily from the U.S.