More than a third of journalism jobs will be lost 2002-2031 from decades of decline primarily due to newspaper downsizing and closures, a Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) report found.
“Stop the Presses: Journalism Employment and the Economic Value of 850 Journalism and Communication Programs,” ranked journalism and communications programs at 850 schools in terms of metrics such as payoff for graduates in the labor market, earnings, and debt payments.
The report also discusses how the industry and profession are transforming as times change. Average employment by newspaper publishers has gone down 63% since the 1980s, though in recent decades, average employment increased by more than six times in internet publishing, broadcasting, and web search portals. Modern journalists are more likely to be women and less likely to be white. And journalists are now more likely to be reporters than editors.
“Our democracy relies on a free and robust press, but that is at risk as the newspaper industry contracts,” said Dr. Anthony P. Carnevale, lead report author and CEW director. “With far fewer available jobs, new journalists must navigate the rising cost of higher education and relatively low future earnings, which can make paying off debt difficult.”
Journalism and communication majors see moderate financial payoffs compared to other majors, the report found. Bachelor’s degree holders earn a median of $39,700 net of student-loan debt payments three years after graduation – 14th out of 34 major groups – while for master’s degree holders, financial returns for these majors rise to $49,300 three years after graduation – 12th out of 26 master’s degree major groups.
“The economic value of a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism is not as high as for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), health, or business, but it still exceeds the financial returns from degrees in education, history, psychology, or English,” said Emma Wenzinger, report author and CEW strategic communications specialist. “For master’s degree students, however, the payoff of a degree in journalism is often questionable.”