Mexico City, D.F.

Cox Center Scientists Present Research At Mexican Conference Showing Lasting Effects of High School Journalism Involvement

U.S. journalism and mass communication students who have participated in journalism activities in high school are more likely to find jobs once they complete their university studies and more likely to find jobs in the field of communication, researchers at the University of Georgia reported at a scientific conference held in Mexico City in late July.

The researchers found that participation in such high school activities as the student newspaper and the yearbook had direct effects on the ability of graduates of U.S. journalism and mass communication programs to find a full-time job six to eight months after graduation.

Participation in what the researchers called journalistic extracurricular activities also had an indirect effect on the ability of the graduates to find work in the field of communication by leading students to such university activities as holding internships with communication organizations such as newspapers or public relations firms.

Having participated in internships while in college in turn led to increased likelihood of finding a job in the field of communication upon graduation.

The University of Georgia researchers used data from the 2007 Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates to study the possible effects of high school activities on the experiences of graduates of university journalism and mass communication programs once they left the university.

The annual national survey of journalism and mass communication graduates is housed in the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The Cox Center uses data from the survey project in many of its international projects.

The research team that presented the study at the conference in Mexico was led by Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center. Other members were Donna Wilcox, a graduate student in the Cox Center, and Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center. Dr. Becker represented the team at the conference.

Approximately 400 researchers from around the world gathered in the Mexican capital for the scientific meeting, organized by the International Association for Media and Communication Research.

The conference venue was the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco near the historical city center. The cultural center is part of the Universidad National Autonomo de Mexico.

Research in the past has shown that extracurricular activities at the high school level in the U.S. have positive effects on those students who participate in them, but that research has not examined specifically the long-term effects of participation in high school journalism extracurricular activities.

The Cox Center research team concluded that these journalistic extracurricular high school activities do have a lasting effect on students.

“Not only does participation in such activities prepare students for college entrance exams and their undergraduate careers, results of this analysis show a significant effect on the success of the university graduates once they move into the job market,” the researchers reported at the Mexico City conference, which was held from July 21 to July 24.

The paper was presented to the Journalism Research and Education Section of the conference and was one of 55 presentations by researchers in that section at the conference.