Sunday, July 29, 2007

Journalism degree costs more

Some colleges across the nation are changing the tuition prices for students who major in certain fields, because of things like "the high salaries commanded by professors in certain fields, the expense of specialized equipment and the difficulties of getting state legislatures to approve general tuition increases." For journalism students at Arizona State University, it means they'll pay an extra $250 per semester (freshmen excluded).

Yet, students who want to go into broadcast journalism will be lucky to earn more than $23,000 per year in their first job. I would say they'd be lucky to earn $21,000 per year, as I've seen job postings for full-time journalism jobs where the salary is far less (in one case, $15,000 per year!).

Many news directors always wonder why it's getting harder to find a good journalism student. Here's a hint: they went into public relations to make more money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since a basic college degree is what a high school diploma used to be (job-wise) it should be available free as part of basic public education. As long as a person can prove themselves to be a legal citizen and resident of the state in question, the education should be FREE. How to pay for it? The money sent to Iraq would educate every student in the country with plenty to spare. Anyone seeking education higher than the basic degree, such as extra credits, masters and doctorate degrees, should pay. Also additional majors other than the one basic one chosen. Or anyone seeking education outside their state of residence (similar to resdiency requirement for public education). This way, rich and poor have an equal playing field for the majority of jobs. Too many talented people sit in the background while lesser qualified but better educated people get the good jobs. Having money or knowing the right people doesn't make someone the best for the position, but they get it anyway. Time for a change!

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A news director friend saw a posting for his very first job in broadcast news: that is, 20 years after he broke into the business he saw a want ad for the very same job he got right out of college, at the very same station. Curious, he checked it out.

It paid slightly LESS than he had been making 20 years before.,

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just broadcast journalism either.

Print journalism isn't any better.

PR is def. the way to go.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do TV networks, and local stations, sensationalize tragic stories? For instance, the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, I was flipping channels going from CNN, FOX news and MSNBC, and listening to the anchors made me sick, all offering their opinions about what happened, i.e., "the steel girders couldn't hold the weight of the traffic," etc. What makes anchors experts on construction, metal, concrete. And this morning, watching the TODAY show, they opened with a VO by Matt Laher and (sad) music playing over video of the collapsed bridge.

Why can't reporters, anchors just report instead of offering their opinions. I was glad that the TODAY show had victims, rescue personnel, and even Minnesota's governor for interviews. But leave the sensationalism and self-expert opinions out.

Maybe the cost of journalism schools can teach that.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's explode the myth that PR jobs are out there just begging for the taking - they're not. There are no shortage of ex-broadcasters in this area who mistakenly thought making the jump to PR would be a given, only to find out that the PR fraternity/sorority is small, and it's closed.

People who manage to land PR jobs tend to endlessly rotate through any number of employers. I can't put it any more succinctly than this - your years of broadcasting experience amounts to nothing, it won't open any doors for you.

If you're hoping for a PR job right out of school, skip the journalism degree, make it marketing instead.

Perhaps more importantly, broadcast journalism majors from most schools are a joke. These programs sprang into being simply because of the law of supply and demand. Kids demanded communications degrees because they wanted to be on television, so schools across the land began the supply. Many of them did so to make money, and little else.

Locally, several colleges have been offering communications degrees for roughly 25 years. I'd love to know how many matriculated with such degrees and went on to find jobs in the business. I'd bet important money it's under 15%. It might be under 10%.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos, Beale.

And that's why local news doesn't seem to attract very good reporters.

How good can you be for 21 grand a year?

I think my naps are worth more than that.

3:23 PM  
Blogger NEPAmedia said...

Farewell, Howard. I am sad to see you hang it up, but I understand your motivation. The NEPA broadcast scene, in particular, has a rich history that you richly chronicled. The NEPA journalism scene is poorer without you. If I can ever buy you that beer at the Elbow Room at Gonda's, let me know. You know how to reach me.

10:28 AM  

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