Higher Education – Journalism Bust, J-School Boom. While newsrooms get gutted, classrooms are full
When the current class of optimists from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism prepared for their March job fair, some were stunned to learn that, along with The New York Times, Forbes, Dow Jones and other national publications, they’d also been signed up for interviews with Cat Fancy, a lively consumer magazine “for people interested in all phases of cat ownership.”
It was, of course, a prank. But it’s easy to understand the confusion. The Pew Research Center estimates 5,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2008. Since 2001, more than 10,000 newspaper journalists have lost work, leaving the total count of those still employed at 47,000 nationwide. It’s getting worse, fast. Erica Smith, who runs the online layoff tracker Paper Cuts, counts nearly 7,500 newsroom jobs lost so far this year.
Yet punishing times for journalism have been an unlikely boon for journalism schools. Would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins hiding out from the bad economy or learning new skills to compete stormed the admissions offices of top-tier programs last fall. Columbia, Stanford and NYU applications increased 38%, 20% and 6%, respectively, from the previous year. Same thing at state schools. The University of Colorado (up 11%), University of North Carolina (up 14%) and University of Maryland (up 25%) all saw gains. “I’m amazed that enrollment continues to be so healthy,” says Associate Professor Stephen Solomon at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Costs are up too. The average price for graduate school and living expenses has reached $31,000 per year. This despite earnings for journalists with a graduate degree averaging just $40,000 in 2007 ($10,000 more than for those with just bachelor’s degrees).
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