Median Salary for Journalism Majors: $50,000

Based on last year’s census data, the median salary for journalism majors now in the professional ranks: $50,000.  My first reaction: Wow, honestly, that is higher than I thought it would be.

According to a great Romenesko+ post summarizing Wall Street Journal data, “Journalism majors do slightly better than English majors in the job market. . . . The median annual salary for both is $50,000, the same as it is for advertising and PR majors, history majors and communications majors.”

My second reaction: How many are actually working as journalists?  The WSJ breakdown does not provide an answer to that query.  But it does present an interesting nugget that should be at least slightly heartening to j-students, profs, alumni, and advisers everywhere: “[J]ournalists make up a slightly larger portion of the U.S. workforce than in 2000.  At that time, .055 percent of the U.S. workforce was made up of journalists; in 2010, journalists were .058 percent of the workforce.”

Of course, this produces more questions than answers.  Chief among them: Who is being counted as a journalist?  (I imagine the definition has changed since a decade ago.)  And how many people are in the workforce overall compared to 10 years ago?  (I’m guessing there are a ton less jobs than in 2000, meaning there are probably less working journalists as well.)

Yet, regardless, it’s nice to see j-majors are financially competitive after graduation and that I can look students in the eye when I tell them journalism’s foothold in society is holding steady– at least in a baseline numerical sense.  Journalism within higher ed. also remains strong– listed as the 25th most popular major among the 173 included in the WSJ report.

The bad news: The unemployment rate for journalism majors after graduation is slightly higher than those who major in one of its rival disciplines.  And diversity in the journalism workforce is embarrassingly low– especially in respect to women and those in the racial minority.

What do you think of this data???

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