WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Are Journalism Students Passionate about Reporting?

Apr 25, 2018

A few weeks ago the Shop Talk crew discussed a reported rise in the number of students enrolling in journalism schools.  This week the panelists debate whether students are as passionate about journalism as they were years ago.

Panelist Will Buss said some of his students are definitely “all-in” when it comes to reporting, just as Buss and some of his cohorts were back in the day when they lived and died with the Western Courier.

But he believes there are fewer such students.  He said that might be due to changes in the profession that have led to fewer job opportunities for those who graduate from journalism programs.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said she teaches a class of 20 broadcast journalists but only a handful of them are really serious about pursuing the profession.  The rest are interested in public relations or have other interests. 

Crighton said there is no doubt in her mind that there are fewer job opportunities for young journalists today.  And she said students are aware of which companies are good to work for and which are not so they might feel their choices are limited.

Panelist Rich Egger agreed there are fewer opportunities today than a few years ago and certainly fewer than when he graduated from college.  He said he worked a weekend shift for his first professional radio job, but many stations today have cut back on weekend shifts or automate for the entire weekend.  And the first newsroom he worked in fulltime no longer exists. He said those are examples of a couple opportunities he had that are no longer available.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.