Dr. Tudor Vlad duirng his presentation.

*Courtesy of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism

Cox Center Associate Director Vlad Discusses Enrollment Trends at Oakland Diversity Conference

Enrollments in U.S. journalism and mass communication programs, which have been growing in recent years, could slow down, especially at the undergraduate levels, Dr. Tudor Vlad from the University of Georgia told to a group of journalism faculty and professionals meeting in Oakland in October.

Enrollments in graduate programs, on the other hand, might well increase, the associate director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia said.

“Enrollment in graduate programs tends to rise whenever the economy falls as people look for ways to hide out from the job market and keep some career momentum,” Dr. Vlad told a gathering of 45 people at a conference in San Francisco on Oct. 10.

The conference, “Rethinking Journalism Through the Lens of Diversity,” was organized by San Francisco State University’s Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism.

Dr. Vlad summarized findings from the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication, housed in the Cox Center, which is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

For 2008 graduates–the most recent for which data are available-salaries for those who found journalism jobs in the cable industry and with online publishing companies were higher than average, Dr. Vlad said.

Overall, the benefits graduates receive with their employment have been reduced across all nine categories measured in the survey, including retirement and medical insurance, he said.
Dr. Cristina Azocar, CIIJ director, and Ms. Lisa Chang, innovative programs director, were the organizers of the meeting.

The daylong conference was designed to offer a frank assessment of how journalism is taught in this age of disruption and particularly how diversity values can be imbued anew as media survival becomes paramount.

“In a country that is becoming ‘majority minority,’ those who are adept at understanding and reaching diverse populations will become more needed, not less,” said Chang. “We will have to consider trends, new developments and the need to teach entrepreneurial skills in today's ventures.”
According to Chang, “traditional news media are important to our discussions, but start-ups, both for-profit and non-profit must be part of our picture.”

The program included a discussion of online business models, a session on rethinking of the term "diversity" in the new media era, and some group discussions using conference participants as leaders.
The meeting was designed to create the framework of future conferences in which goals and best practices can be shared among those who are teaching future journalists who will build news operations in a variety of new ways.