As previously reported on J-School Buzz, about half of recent Missouri journalism graduates are unemployed. How, then, were 76 percent of 2009 Syracuse University journalism students able to find full-time employment within six months of graduating?
It’s a question more students at the Missouri School of Journalism should be asking.
Here’s one answer: The state of career services at our J-School is nothing short of dire. There are jobs out there in journalism and elsewhere, but we lack the resources to find them.
The most glaring problem, of course, is that no one is currently in charge of career services at the journalism school. Since career services’ Phousavanh Sengsavanh quit in December, “career services” has consisted entirely of e-mails sent to students by Associate Dean Brian Brooks, often with cryptically titled attachments to sort through. (“Edelman Associate Enrichm~1.docx”? Huh?) An associate editor position at Scouting Magazine in Irving, Texas is among the most promising leads.
Rewind to last semester, though, and the picture wasn’t much prettier.
As is the case now, most students received job postings via mass e-mail. Listings were also tweeted and posted to an entirely public blog and an equally unhelpful Twitter account, which students from any other school could access at will. If you wanted to search for a job, you were fresh out of luck. Looking for a job outside of journalism? Haha, that’s a good one.
In-person resume and jobs advice at the career services office existed in name only. Instead of receiving substantive tips on her resume, an accomplished friend was told that she should not use her nickname on her resume because no one would take her seriously. When that same friend asked where she could go to find a listing of journalism internships, she was referred to another university’s career services website.
And did you attend the journalism school’s fall career fair? If you did, chances are you didn’t find very many opportunities. The anemic showing by potential employers was enough to make any journalism student run away to law school.
It doesn’t have to be this way–and at most reputable universities, it’s not.
Journalism students at USC, Northwestern and the University of Oklahoma are able to find jobs via searchable databases. At Arizona State University, the school arranges exclusive journalism internships for its students. And as you can see from the video below, the list of news outlets present at New York University’s most recent journalism fair is borderline depressive: The New York Times, CBS News, Mashable and The Wall Street Journal, to name a small few.
Even more depressing is the password-protected jobs and internships database provided to students at Harvard University, which doesn’t even have a journalism school or degree. I used my friend’s login information to gain access, and it offered an astounding look into what Mizzou journalism is missing.
Even though deadlines for many internships have already passed, a quick search of Crimson Careers turned up current listings for The Nation, The Economist, Time Inc., NBC News, The News Corporation, FOX News and MSNBC.com. Want a job? The Atlantic, Bloomberg, The Examiner and AOL are hiring. Even cooler: You can create a profile with your resume, and employers can search for you.
(As if Harvard students needed any other advantages, right?)
But the journalism jobs listings, even this late in the summer hiring season, aren’t even the best part about the Harvard online career oracle. It’s searchable, and it doesn’t limit job searches by a student’s academic major.
At Mizzou, of course, journalism students only receive notifications about communications jobs. But for those of us who decide we’d rather get a job in business or technology or government? Good luck in graduate school!
The University of Missouri School of Journalism does a lot of things right. The skill set I’ve developed as a student has served me well in internships, and I’ve met professors and students who have pointed me toward professional opportunities (like my current internship, which I did not learn about from career services). I know how to report, and if I get a job in journalism someday, I will be confident in my ability to succeed.
But everything we learn at Mizzou is worthless if we can’t put it into practice.
Each semester, we pay tuition as an investment in our education and our future. The Missouri School of Journalism should provide us with the resources to return on that investment.
Career services at the Best School of Journalism can be better, and they should be.
Until then, our best chance for employment might be a little help from our Jayhawk friends: The KU journalism career services page offers a public listing of journalism and strategic communications jobs and internships. Go get ‘em, Tigers.