By: M.L. Stein
JOURNALISM STUDENTS HAVE returned to “traditional centers of journalism education,” with the news editorial sequence gaining nearly three percentage points since 1990, the annual Ohio State University survey for 1993 reported.
The advertising sequence remained relatively stable while broadcasting appeared to have halted a decline from the 1990-1992 period, according to the study.
The increased interest in print journalism showed up despite another finding that salaries of journalism and mass communication graduates, after rising at a higher rate than consumer prices for several years, have leveled off and are no longer keeping pace with inflation.
The results of the survey by School of Journalism professors Lee Becker and Gerald Kosicki were released at the 77th annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in Atlanta.
There was other bad news on the employment front.
Although many graduates found jobs with good employer-paid benefits packages, “a relatively large number do not even have basic health insurance available to them,” it was reported.
Still, most graduates who had not found jobs in the media expressed interest in finding one.
The survey, which drew responses from 2,819 graduates out of a mailing of 5,374, also turned up these facts:
? The percentage of graduates planning long-term careers in broadcasting, public relations, magazines and book publishing was higher than that of those planning to start on daily or weekly newspapers.
For example, 6.2% of the respondents said they wanted to be working on daily papers in five years in contrast to 10.2% who wanted to remain in television and 7.5% in magazines. Public relations scored 6.7%.
? Despite a bad labor market, 1993 grads remained committed to journalism and mass communication careers ? even those without jobs.
? Compared to seven years earlier, the 1993 journalism school graduates were more likely to end up with part-time work. The average annual salary for those who did find full-time work was $18,500.
The median weekly salary for the new full-time employees on daily newspapers was $350 compared to $268 in 1986. For those on weeklies, the wage was $300, up from $249 in 1986.
On fringe packages, the investigators said of all fields: “The proportion of graduates working without basic benefits, such as simple medical coverage, dental coverage or maternity/paternity leave, is striking.”
Becker and Kosicki added that basic and major medical coverage were the two most offered benefits, and along with life insurance and maternity/paternity leave, were most likely to be fully paid by the employers.
But “not surprisingly, the graduates found they were expected to pay at least part of many of their benefits,” the professors said.
Basic and major medical plans were available to 83.8% and 80.8% respectively of the graduates; dental plans, 65.9%; retirement benefits, 65.3%; maternity/paternity leave, 69%; life insurance, 69.2%, and disability, 65.4%.
In another study of 430 journalism and mass communication schools and departments, Becker and Kosicki reported that undergraduate enrollment declined in the fall of 1993, following a trend.
“Smaller freshman through junior classes from previous years suggests the trend will continue,” the authors said.
Graduate enrollment, however, continued to increase and the number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees went up in the 1992-93 academic year.
There also were these findings:
? The number of students in print and broadcast journalism increased “and the trend is toward increased enrollment in these traditional areas of study.”
? Women continued to lead enrollment in both the B.A. and M.A. programs and the gap between men and women at the doctoral level was declining.
? Approximately four of 10 journalism and mass communication programs were limiting enrollments, primarily because they had more students than they wanted or could handle. Half of the journalism programs reported they closed students out of classes because of overdemand.
? Only about a third of the journalism schools had a budget increase in the last two years.
? Most of the programs were in competition with other campus schools and departments for communication instruction “broadly defined.”
Sponsors of the two survey projects were AEJMC, Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, AEJMC’s Council of Affiliates, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Freedom Forum, Hyde and Watson Foundation, National Association of Broadcasters, Newspaper Association of America Foundation, Scripps Howard Foundation and Ohio State’s School of