Survey: Finding a Job Harder for Minority Journalists in 2009

The latest report on salaries for journalism and mass communication majors confirms what we have all expected is happening to newsrooms generally: Even many journalists who are still working are losing ground.

The Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates, conducted annually by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia, is the best publicly available measure of newsroom salaries. The survey was released last week at the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication Annual Conference in Denver.

In a nutshell, the survey said that beginning newsroom salaries have remained flat for four years running and that employers cut back on benefits.

Other than a slight uptick in hiring last spring, the survey did not have much good to report. Here are some highlights:

  • "Bachelor's degree recipients who were members of racial or ethnic minorities had a particularly difficult time in the job market in 2009. The gap between the level of employment of non-minority and minority graduates in 2009 is the largest ever recorded in the graduate survey."
  • "The median salary earned by journalism and mass communication bachelor's degree recipients entering the job market in 2009 with a full-time job was $30,000, or the same as for the last three years." (Remember, not all the students surveyed went into journalism jobs.)
  • "The median salary earned by 2009 master's degree recipients in journalism and mass communication was $39,000, up from $38,000 a year earlier."
  • "Once again in 2009, graduates were less likely to find a full-time job with benefits than were graduates a year earlier."

In releasing the report, the researchers highlighted a quote from one respondent who wrote, "Stay in school forever. It all goes downhill from here."

There may be something to that. In another study, released in 2009, Lisa Kahn, an assistant professor of economics at the Yale School of Management, estimated that starting a career during a recession can depress wages for 20 years [PDF].

The survey noted that more students were staying in school and delaying their entry into the job market.

Career questions? E-mail Joe for an answer.
  • Joe Grimm

    Joe Grimm is a visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. He runs the JobsPage Website.


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