Is Journalism Dead? Gray Data Reveals Some Interesting Facts

“The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain

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Competition in Journalism

Journalism is the 40th largest program in the country, with over 11,000 students completing the program in 2019.  International students show a great interest in journalism programs as well, putting journalism in the top 4% of international web page views.  However, competition for these students, as well as the job market, indicate a bleaker picture.

For all award levels, completions fell 11.5% and the number of programs fell 2.5% from 2014 – 2019.

Journalism degree completions

Journalism Keyword Searches

Our data shows that in April, Google keyword searches for journalism programs decreased 15% year-over-year.  Student interest had grown for nine months before falling in April.  Gray tracks approximately 20 keywords per program for the 200 largest academic programs.

Google keyword search volume for journalism


Job Market for Journalists

Journalism graduates faced a challenging job market in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the market is picking up again.  April 2021 saw a 418% increase year-over-year in job postings directly related to journalism programs.  The highest volume of postings were for reporters, followed by multimedia journalists.  Wages are below the national  average, yet unemployment is low as well, at 3% nationally.

Our analysis of the top skills listed in journalism job postings indicates a shift in the profession that reflects the growing presence of advanced technology in the general workforce.  Knowledge of Search Engine Optimization is listed in more journalist postings currently than copyediting and general journalism skills, with blogging a very close second.  Experience in Adobe Suite follows, with skills in content creation and research lagging behind.

Journalism word cloud

Only 8% of journalism graduates under 30 are employed as news analysts, reporters, and journalists, and 3% of graduates are employed as editors.  Those numbers differ in the over 30 age group, with only 4% working directly as journalists and 4% as editors.  Just as many journalism graduates work as elementary and middle school teachers, managers, and writers/authors.

Working with AI

You are probably reading news articles written by AI without knowing it.  GPT-3 and similar artificial intelligence are writing increasingly sophisticated content.  They are not going to replace journalists, however, journalists can use AI to pull vast datasets and research sources in any subject in a matter of seconds.  Gray scanned curricula of the top ten largest journalism schools, and few electives or concentrations focused on new technology.

Programs offering courses related to new technology could get ahead of the pack and boost enrollment and job opportunities for their graduates.

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Gray Associates, Inc. is a software and services firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.

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