Stop the Presses
Journalism Employment and the Economic Value of 850 Journalism and Communication Programs
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At the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, journalism and communication majors have moderate financial payoffs compared to other majors. Bachelor’s degree holders in this field earn a median of $39,700 net of student-loan debt payments three years after graduation, ranking 14th out of 34 major groups. Median financial returns for master’s degree holders in journalism and communication are $49,300 three years after graduation, ranking 12th out of 26 master’s degree major groups.
To see how your school stacks up, explore our sortable table of more than 850 journalism and communication programs ranked by metrics including earnings, debt payments, and earnings net of debt payments.
Earnings refer to median earnings three years after graduation from the specified program. Depending on the context, the earnings are expressed in monthly or annual totals.
Student Loan Debt
Student loan debt is based on the amount that a person owes on federal loans three years after graduation. Depending on the context, the debt amounts are expressed in monthly or annual amounts. Total debt may be higher: the College Scorecard only includes debt on federal loans. It does not include loans from other entities such as institutions, states, or private lenders.
Earnings Net of Debt Payments
This dollar figure represents the amount of earnings that a person has remaining after making payments on outstanding federal student loans.
We compare earnings and debt at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.
The majors in this table include communication and media studies; journalism; radio, television, and digital communication; and other communication, journalism, and related programs.
Pell Grant Recipients
This table includes rankings of institutions by earnings and debt for graduates who received Pell Grants and those who did not.
This table includes rankings of institutions by earnings and debt for men and women.
Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from the US Department of Education College Scorecard, 2022.
Employment prospects have dwindled for people working in the journalism field or hoping to break into it. Our projections show that newsroom jobs—including news anchor, reporter, radio news anchor, staff writer, and television news reporter positions—will decline by roughly 3 percent from 2022 to 2031, adding to the long-term decline in journalism jobs. By 2031, the number of journalism jobs will have fallen by nearly 35 percent since 2002, a total loss of more than 20,000 jobs.
Students who major in journalism are not limited to pursuing journalism careers, and often pursue a wide range of occupations. In the first figure, we break down which occupations journalism majors are most likely to enter. We find that among journalism majors, 15 percent are employed in various marketing, advertising, and public relations roles early in their careers.
In the second set of figures, we explore which majors and fields of study are most popular among journalists. For example, 66 percent of news analysts, reporters, and correspondents majored in either journalism or communications and mass media, while only 34 percent of editors majored in those fields.
Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey micro data, 2009-19, based on full-time, full-year workers age 22-27
Notes: Occupations that are less than 1 percent of the major are rolled into the “other” category.
Stop the Presses: Journalism Employment and the Economic Value of 850 Journalism and Communication Programs explores the transformation of the journalism profession.