UGA’s Cox Center releases positive news for national journalism and mass communication graduate

Athens, Ga. – Things are looking up for journalism and mass communication graduates. Evidence of job market recovery was found in research released today by the University of Georgia’s James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research.

“Journalism and mass communication graduates had more job prospects, were more likely to get jobs, and got paid better for the work they did in 2004 than in the previous three years,” reported Lee B. Becker, director of the Cox Center and professor of journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Becker has directed the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates since 1988. It is designed to monitor the employment rates and salaries of graduates of journalism and mass communication programs in the United States, including Puerto Rico.

Findings from the 2004 survey show that the job market has improved, both in terms of level of employment and compensation. “The evidence is of a recovery, albeit modest,” Becker said. “We did see numerous positive indicators. If advertising expenditures continue to grow as predicted, the outlook for the next several years is quite positive.”

In addition, Becker reported that graduates of the nation’s journalism and mass communication programs are generally satisfied with the jobs they hold, proud of the work they do and committed to the organizations for which they work.

Interestingly, the graduates are more like the public at large than different from it when it comes to media rights, media accuracy and media usage. Despite their intense instruction, the graduates are hardly absolutists in terms of fundamental media rights. They generally give qualified support to the media and are sometimes more supportive than the public.

Nearly half of the graduates think the media are often inaccurate, and nearly four in 10 say they learn more about news events from seeing pictures and video than from reading or hearing the facts about what is happening. The public is more forgiving of journalists’ mistakes than are the graduates, who have remained consistent in their critical stance toward their profession over time.

Just like the public at large, journalism and mass communication graduates make less use of the news media today than they did 10 years ago, even though the media are the heart of their occupations. However, the graduates were much more likely to use the Internet for news than the public, and are as likely to use the Internet for news as to read a newspaper.

“It hardly seems that the four years of journalism and mass communication instruction has produced a group of graduates that is committed to using the media,” Becker concluded. “They also seem to have caught the same malady as the public at large and are turning away from public affairs information. Our findings certainly suggest that the communication workforce of the future will be a changed one.”

Findings from the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates are posted online at www.grady.edu.edu/annualsurveys/.

The survey was funded by the American Society of Newspaper Editors; the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication; Cox Newspapers Inc.; The Freedom Forum; Gannett; the Hearst Corporation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; the National Association of Broadcasters; the Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Foundation; Newspaper Association of America; The Newspaper Guild—CWA; the Scripps Howard Foundation; and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA.

The Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates has been housed in the Cox Center at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication since September 1997. The Grady College is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2005. It provides seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Peabody Awards, considered the electronic broadcasting industry’s most prestigious prize. For more information, visit www.grady.uga.edu.