COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite what many editors believe, a new study has found that there is actually a shortage of highly qualified graduates for newspaper reporting jobs.
While there is an oversupply of total journalism graduates, researchers have found that there were only 0.82 highly qualified graduates for every available entry-level newspaper job.
Highly qualified graduates were those who enrolled in a specialized news-editorial curriculum in college, had a newspaper internship and worked for the campus newspaper.
"For years, editors have been complaining that journalism schools have been producing too many graduates. But we've found that there are still too few graduates who have the education and experience that newspaper editors are seeking," said Lee Becker, co-author of the study and director and professor of journalism at Ohio State University.
The study found that there is also a shortage of highly qualified radio journalism graduates -- only 0.35 graduates for every entry-level job available. However, there is an oversupply of highly qualified television journalism graduates, with 1.1
graduates for every job available.
Becker conducted the study with Vernon Stone, professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Missouri and Joseph Graf, a former graduate student at Ohio State. They presented their results recently in Atlanta at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
The study was based on two surveys. One survey, which included responses from 412 television stations, 275 radio stations and 704 newspapers, asked about hiring practices. The survey looked specifically at how many people were hired directly out of college. The second survey, of 2,956 journalism graduates from 1990, included questions about the types of jobs sought and experience in journalism.
Overall, there were still more far more total graduates than jobs available in journalism, Becker said. There were 4.18 job hunters for every entry-level job available on newspapers, 3.29 job hunters for every radio job and 9.9 job hunters for every television job.
"Television remains the most competitive job environment for recent graduates, Becker said.
The fact that there are so many journalism graduates for so few jobs -- yet relatively few who are highly qualified -- suggests that many graduates don't intend to pursue traditional journalism careers, according to Becker. Some pursue careers in public relations or advertising, while others have sought non-media careers. Only about half of the 1990 journalism graduates ended up in communication-related fields, the study shows.
Other results of the study:
_ Daily newspapers hired 37 percent fewer people in 1991 than in 1985.
_Radio news managers hired 28 percent fewer people in 1991 than 1984, while television news directors increased hiring 26 percent in that period.
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Contact: Lee Becker, (614) 292-6291
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457