JournalismPR & Journalism Education

Best Schools for Journalism

There’s been a fair amount of chatter lately about whether or not students should enroll in journalism school. If you want to be a journalist someday, it can’t hurt. Do you need a journalism education to be successful? No. Will it prepare you better than a major in English or Biology? Yes.

There are plenty of people that question the value of journalism education. Others question whether or not journalism programs are keeping up with the pace of change in the industry. Despite the criticism, enrollment is up at journalism schools around the country. So the big question in my mind is which schools are doing the best job at preparing students for a career in a much different media world than many of us grew up in? Which schools are teaching Internet and social media skills, while sticking to a solid foundation of fundamentals? Which schools put the greatest emphasis on quality reporting and writing?

If I were a journalist, I might have spent a month interviewing professors and students. I would have talked to recent grads and students who plan to step onto campus this coming fall. I would have poured over all the research that’s already been done on this subject, and the quality of this post would have been much better. But I’m not a journalist. I’m a blogger. An amateur blogger at that. So I took the easy way out. I asked you, specifically my Twitter followers, to voice your opinion on which journalism school is doing the best job at preparing students for a career in the new world of journalism? 205 votes were cast in my informal poll during the month of June. Based on your votes, the top 10 schools doing the best job at preparing students for a career in journalism are (drum roll please):

  1. University of Georgia, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications
  2. University of California, Berkley Graduate School of Journalism
  3. University of Missouri, Missouri School of Journalism
  4. Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
  5. St. Bonaventure, The Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  6. Columbia University, Graduate School of Journalism
  7. Northwestern University, Medill
  8. UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  9. Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University
  10. The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

So there’s the top 10 for you, based on your votes. In addition to the top vote-getters, I have to name the following schools as honorable mentions, since they all received votes in my poll:

There were also 28 votes for “other” in which no school was indicated. I can only assume those votes were for Utica College, my Alma Mater. I guess we’ll never know.

Now before you get your feathers all ruffled, let me say I don’t think there is such thing as a “best” anything. You voted for the school you like best, and the one you probably know the most about. If anything, this list is probably a more accurate predictor of which schools provide students with an introduction to social media, since all the voting was conducted through Twitter. Either way, I’m very excited to see all the support for journalism schools from my Twitter followers. I’m excited to see that enrollment is up at journalism schools and that a fresh new class of journalism graduates will enter the workforce in the year to come, much better prepared to operate in an online and social media environment. These students won’t have preconceived notions of how journalism should be or whether or not you should charge for news. They’ll bring fresh ideas into media organizations when they need them most.

I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the following topics in the comments on this post:

  • What types of course do you think journalism programs should offer these days? What do you wish you had learned in J-school?
  • If you voted in the survey, why do you think your choice is doing such a great job?
  • Which colleges or universities are leading the way in transforming journalism education? Who are the innovators?
  • Who are some of the most well-known journalists that went to your school?
  • Did I miss a school that should be on the list? Share your thoughts below as well.

Thanks to everyone that participated in this poll. I think it was an interesting experiment in how social media can be leveraged to gather public opinion.

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