I’ve graduated…now what?

An outlook of employment opportunities in the mass communication industry

By Kyle J. Miller
Dr. Charles A. Lubbers
University of South Dakota

The employment outlook in any field is dictated by the balance of supply and demand. However, the available supply of college graduates and the demand for the graduates to fill a particular job category in a field can vary greatly.

Table1_DegreesAccording to a 2012 study by Becker, Vlad and Kalpen, 51,784 bachelor’s degrees were granted in the U.S. in 2011, and that number was only slightly larger than the year before.  They also noted that during 2011, 203,561 students were enrolled in bachelor’s programs, a decline of .05 percent from the year before.

Undergraduate students are studying a growing number of specializations within the mass communication field. This reflects changes in the terms used to describe the specializations, as well as a growth in those areas as a result of newer technologies.  As noted in Table 1, journalism, once the dominant specialization in the field, now accounts for slightly less than 30 percent of the students.  The next largest group of students is located in strategic communication programs. Students studying radio/television generally made up 4.9 percent.  Clearly the concentration of students is located in the areas of journalism and strategic communications, with significantly smaller numbers in the telecommunications field.

Continue reading

Niche publications deliver something for everyone

By Jessica Clary
Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta

-4By nature, all university publications are niche publications. The audience is typically hyper-local, similarly educated and knowledgeable about the same topics. A college newspaper article uses terms and vernacular specific to that college when describing traditions and nicknames.

College newspapers aren’t USA Today, and they shouldn’t be. They should be broad enough to deliver something for the entire campus population.

Continue reading

Research: Student journalists’ use of student media

Sender-receiver, receiver-sender: A uses-and-gratifications study of student journalists’ use of social media

Vincent F. Filak
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh



Abstract: Uses and gratifications theory posits that audience members select media to satisfy specific needs. Social media, however, have allowed media users to select both media to consume and what media to produce/share.

This study of student journalists (n=285) revealed differences between the importance of specific gratifications in terms of what participants consumed and what they shared.

Vince Filak

Vince Filak

Additionally, the study examines which gratifications were most important in forming a positive attitude toward social media.

Being prepared when calamity strikes…

How College Media Can Plan For the Worst

By Carolyn Schurr Levin

In December 2012, College Media Review reported about the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the Pioneer at LIU Post on Long Island, and the College Voice at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey.  Both campuses shut down, students were sent home, power was lost for days and publishing the student newspapers was, to put it mildly, a challenge.

Coping with disaster... Long Island University and Mercer County Community College. Background photo Brian Birke, Creative Commons.

Disaster and emergency planning can help media prepare for the unexpected. (Background photo Brian Birke, Creative Commons).

In the case of the Pioneer, the outside printing company for the newspaper couldn’t have printed the paper even if it had had power; it lost its roof to the storm. The 2012 CMR article, “When Disaster Strikes A College Community,” advised college media organizations to make contingency plans in the event of an unanticipated catastrophe similar to Hurricane Sandy.

Yet, over a year later, an informal email survey of college media advisers suggests that many organizations do not yet have such contingency plans.

Continue reading

Working with that sports Info director behind the curtain…


Alex Johnson, Cartoonist, UIS Journal

By Justin Schneewind

 Needing prior permission to interview college athletes and coaches has become the norm rather than the exception for college and professional sports journalists, who must often first go through the school’s sports information director or athletic director.

That goes for in-depth pieces and after-game interviews, in-person interviews, texts, e-mails, Facebook and other forms of communication.

Sports information directors, with the blessings of their athletic directors, are increasingly forbidding journalists to communicate with players or coaches unless the communication has been arranged first by the sports information director or other one of the sports information director’s staff.

Continue reading

The Future of the Venerable Yearbook

Embracing New Technology, New Ways of Doing Business

By Susan Smith
South Dakota State University

While the college yearbook may no longer be published on many campuses, other schools are still publishing yearbooks as they embrace new technology and ways of doing business.

In the last 18 years, the number of college yearbooks printed in the United States dropped from about 2,400 in 1995 to about 1,000 today, according to a 2010 National Public Radio story.

“No definitive list exists of all of the books out there now, much less how that compares to any point in the past (or how they’re funded),” said Lori Brooks, convention chair for the College Media Association who has chaired CMA yearbook committees. “It’s information I hope we can start tracking at some point soon.” Continue reading

South Dakota State University Students Resurrect Yearbook

Jackrabbit finds new life on campus

By Susan Smith
South Dakota State University

In 2002, the students’ association at South Dakota State University eliminated its Jackrabbit Yearbook. Interest in the book had declined. Fewer people were working on the staff, and boxes of the free publication were left unclaimed by the student body.


Vanessa Dykhouse (left), Editor Paul Dybedahl

In 2012, that same group sought out an editor to bring it back. Vanessa Dykhouse, a senator from the university’s arts and sciences college, answered the call and began planning to bring the book back to life. Dykhouse found an adviser, negotiated a print contract with the school’s print lab and began recruiting staff. A small but dedicated group of students spent two nights a week in the lower level of the SDSU student union putting out the book – with no funding and little journalism experience. But it had the support of the university community. The Collegian, SDSU’s independent, student-run newspaper, allowed the yearbook to use its office and computers to produce the book. The newspaper and radio adviser, Susan Smith, became the yearbook’s adviser. The Union’s Information Exchange front desk and the University Bookstore helped the group sell books. Continue reading

Adapting to the changing media landscape

The Story of The Blue Banner

By Sonya DiPalma and Michael E. Gouge
University of North Carolina at Asheville

Abstract: This paper chronicles the obstacles encountered by the advisor and staff of a small college newspaper attempting to make the paradigm shift from a traditional weekly college newspaper to a multiplatform system. The traditional college print newspaper runs the risk of becoming antiquated as more young adults seek news from digital and social media platforms (Hubbard 2011; Beaujon 2012; The demographic 2012). Within this case study, the authors discuss the growing need for academic departments to abandon “silos” within mass communication in order to embrace the multiplatform approach to reporting and the strategic use of social networks to attract a college audience. While college students embrace social networks as the primary fountain of knowledge, the adviser and staff question how best to achieve a social identity for their college newspaper.


For generations, working on the college newspaper was a training ground for aspiring journalists and editors. The skills learned on campus translated directly to entry-level positions that graduates enthusiastically filled. Cuts in newsroom staff have meant increased opportunities for college interns who often find themselves in the role of teacher for less technology savvy reporters (Thornton 2011).  Increasingly newspapers seek interns possessing web and multimedia skills as well as strong writing skills (Wenger 2011). Keeping pace with the dramatic changes experienced in newsrooms across the country presents a challenge for college newspapers, particularly college newspapers at small colleges. Continue reading

Social Editing: Using Facebook groups to improve news content

Exploring the social media site as a collaborative tool

By Lindsey Wotanis, Ph.D.
Marywood University

Facebook. It’s a social phenomenon and even an obsession for some, particularly among young people. An estimated 48 percent of adults between 18 and 34 check Facebook when they wake up, with 28 percent doing so before even getting out of bed, according to Facebook Statistics, Stats & Facts For 2011 | Digital Buzz Blog.

Afton Fonzo, social media editor, and Justin Wahy, multimedia editor, review content requests during a Wood Word editorial meeting. (Photo: Lindsey Wotanis)

Afton Fonzo, social media editor, and Justin Wahy, multimedia editor, review content requests during a Wood Word editorial meeting. (Photo: Lindsey Wotanis)

In 2011, the Pew Internet and American Life project reported that 86 percent of undergraduates were using social networks.  In classrooms and dorm rooms across the country, students are updating statuses, “liking” photos, and accepting invitations to the next Friday night party.

And, almost as soon as Facebook started gaining popularity, researchers began studying the impact its use among undergraduates would have on things like academic performance.  Studies like this one at The Ohio State University report that students who use Facebook tend to have lower GPAs and spend less time studying.

But it’s not all bad news. After all, at least we know where students’ attentions are. They’re on Facebook, and as they say, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”



Tarleton State students lead coverage in national story

Collegians cover “American Sniper” murders

By Sarah Maben

When a former Navy SEAL sniper and his vet friend are shot in your proverbial backyard, you hope the student journalists will mobilize to cover the going-to-go national story and forgo that Super Bowl party.

TNSsnipercoverage(1)“All of our reporters are at church” is how Sunday morning began when Texan News Service adviser Dan Malone called my house. The news conference about the murder of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield was scheduled for 2 p.m., and we were eager to help students with the unfolding story.

Continue reading