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UGA research report looks at media industry hiring practices

Athens, Ga. – The daily newspaper, radio and television industries in the U.S., despite dramatic changes in hiring levels in recent years, continue to rely heavily on university journalism and mass communication programs for their entry-level newsroom hires.

In 2010, about nine out of 10 newsroom hires by daily newspaper and television newsrooms coming directly from college were of persons who had a degree in journalism and mass communication. For radio, the ratio was eight of 10.

The ratios were largely unchanged from five years earlier despite the fact that the actual level of hiring of newsroom personnel was greatly lower in 2010.

These findings were from separate surveys of hiring in the three industries conducted at the University of Georgia and Hofstra University in New York and were released Aug. 10 at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in St. Louis.

The research at the University of Georgia was conducted by a research team headed by Lee B. Becker, director of 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 Georgia research came from a survey of daily newspaper editors.

The Hofstra University research was conducted by Robert Papper and focused on hiring in the radio and television news business. The research is in collaboration with the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA).

The Daily Newspaper Hiring Survey was first conducted in 1970 and is fielded every five years to document the types of hiring in that industry.

Since 2000, Becker and Papper have collaborated to gather comparable data for radio and television. Papper surveys radio and television newsrooms each year to look at salaries.

“These data confirm the very close relationship between these industries and journalism and mass communication education,” Becker said. “Despite dramatic drops in hiring in all three industries, they continue to rely on university journalism education programs for the vast majority of their entry-level employees.”

Daily newspapers in 2010 hired nearly a third of their newsroom employees directly from college, a figure that is up five percentage points from 2005. Fewer newsroom employees were hired from other newspapers.

Hiring declined in all three industries in 2010 compared to hiring in 2005. The size of the workforce also was down sharply.

At daily newspapers, the total number of internships dropped by 760 positions and paid interns declined during the five-year period from 2,910 to 1,605. An increase in unpaid interns was seen with 2,210 unpaid in 2010, compared with 1,665 five years earlier.

The full report was written by Becker and fellow researchers Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox Center, and Grady graduate students Chelsea Toledo and Whitney Kazragis. Papper also was a co-author of the report, which is available at

Funding for the 2010 daily newspaper hiring survey was provided by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, Gannett, Hearst Corporation, McCormick Foundation, National Association of Broadcasters, Newspaper Association of America, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists, Scripps Howard Foundation, Specialized Information Publishers Foundation, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism, and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.