More evidence for a journalism job rebound

In my previous post, I argued that the journalism job market had plunged, and then rebounded sharply over the past year.  Here’s the relevant chart again:

The newly-released 2009 Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates  from the University of Georgia completely supports this narrative. The survey discovered that the  labor market for June 2009 graduates was terrible–exactly what my chart shows.

But then, as we went into 2010, things got better,  according to the survey–a lot better. The survey reports that:

Of those graduates returning the survey in November, only 46.5% reported having a full-time job. In May, the rate was 62.8%.

In fact, the survey’s chart 6 looks almost exactly like my chart above.

I think it’s pretty clear that the journalism job market, at least up this point, is bouncing back faster than a lot of other occupations. My best guess is that journalism, broadly defined,  is quickly going to become one of the hot careers.


  1. This one’s especially encouraging!

    I remember reading one of the financial pages in The New Yorker in 2008 that argued as the newspaper market sinks, readers will soon realize they get what they pay for. At the time I was skeptical, but now the picture looks a little clearer.

    Here’s the original piece:

    The same idea here, applied on a broader level means that when the market for journalism hits rock bottom, readers, listeners and viewers will realize how important it is to pay for quality news — whether directly or indirectly.

    I’m pretty certain that as big media companies continue to slim down, while blogs that do minimal reporting continue to rely on those big media companies, we will find a patch of fresh soil to grow new jobs in journalism for a appreciative audience. And I’m talking informative, honest, in-depth journalism!

  2. The real question is, should a state school or your run-of-the-mill university out there even offer a major in Journalism?

    Is it irresponsible for a state school to have a journalism program and continually dump graduates into a job market that is, for all intents and purposes, virtually dead on arrival?

    • Mike Mandel says:

      I think yes. This transition is a good opportunity for some second-rank schools to leap ahead, because journalism is going to be transformed.

  3. Norman. Journalism is a highly transferable skill — writing, doing research, knowing how to ask important questions, working with multimedia tools, networking and dealing with PR people. How are those skills not useful in an abundance of other job markets?

    • Because there are a lot of out of work journalists…

      Hence, if you have an abundance of people with a set of skills (as you outline above) and they can’t find work–why keep training them?

      Why set up a bunch of grads for failure?

  4. I think the same could be said for a lot of academic fields these days, including literature and history. We are experiencing drastic cultural, economic and social changes right now. But educational programs — including journalism — need to be revamped not eliminated.

    The problem is that students are not being properly prepared for the job markets they are going into. Take four examples:

    A. A fine arts major
    B. A creative writing major
    C. A history major
    D. A journalism major

    Based on the general humanities courses that these students would likely take at any general college or university, who do you think would be most prepared to run a business as a backup plan?

    • I have run a business, and I wouldn’t take any of them.

      In fact, the four “majors” you list are all well and good for the academic world, but in the practical world, forget about it.

      Science, engineering, accounting, business or economics? Math, law, medical, computer or research?

      I can name ten skills that would mean a great deal more to me as a prospective employer than fine arts, creative writing, history or journalism.

      In a global environment, I would think that you would need the research and writing skills as an aside or as a foundational set of skills AND you would HAVE to have something scientific or otherwise as a matter of practicality.

      If anyone thinks that a creative writing major is going to run a company that makes things or fixes things, forget about it. That’s a recipe for bankruptcy.

      Journalism majors of the world–abandon your ridiculous course of study and get some math or engineering skills. That is all.

      • So you are not advocating getting rid of journalism as a major, but instead advocating getting rid of most humanities courses. I’d more moderately say we should bring some of the fundamentals of business, economics and perhaps even science to these fields.

        But… to each his own.

  5. Carl A. O'Donnell says:

    Thanks for the encouraging data! It seems like the job market for journalists isn’t as dismal as its cracked up to be: 2009 was a recession year, and employment prospects were low across the board. A 60% chance of landing a full-time job in your first year after college doesn’t sound dismal to me, especially when the year in question is one in which millions off AMericans LOST jobs. To me, the most important message of your link is that the journalism market is changing, and many recent grads felt under-equipped to handle the technological demands of a more web based market.


  1. […] The Journalism Market may be on the mend: […]

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